The Health and Family Welfare Department will likely re-issue the call for tender to run the 108 emergency ambulance service due to various problems that have cropped up with the current lot of bidders that could lead to legal challenges.
This was informed by Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh today. The move has become necessary “having seen that there were certain anomalies and claims and counter-claims of competing bidders,” she said.
Certain bidders had complained of favouritism towards rivals, while at least one was reported to have gotten the contract, though this was explained as a misinterpretation.
“They (bidders) were getting very restless and were presenting documents of various kinds,” Lyngdoh told reporters.
The minister also said that the department has been advised by the Law Department that a new tendering process should be carried out.
Even after opening the technical bids (and before the financial bids were touched), it was seen that the government would face legal challenges if it goes ahead with the current process.
The 108 service is being run by the National Health Mission (NHM) after the state chose not to renew the contract of GVK following numerous staff complaints over salary and working conditions. If the tendering process cannot be completed by the time the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha polls comes into force then the NHM will continue running the service temporarily.
Lyngdoh also said that 108 employees are also a little restless given the situation not moving forwards but she has assured them that the government is working things out, though she cautioned that it could still take some time.
“Let us do a good job and don’t put anyone under pressure. We are not under pressure and we are going to make sure that what is done is done in the right way,” she added.