JKBL yet to select vendors UID project fails to take off28 December 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The much hyped UID project known as AADHAAR that was launched by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in August this year with much funfare has failed to take off as the State Registrar for the project - Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd- is still in the processes of tendering to select the vendors. Under the project over 1.1 crore UID cards with biometric details of every individual in the State above the age of 5 years are to be prepared in three years. The Chief Minister was first to give his biometric data for the project that was to be started in January this year. One year has passed but the project is yet to take off. The project was launched simultaneously in nine districts of the State with six - Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora - in Kashmir and three - Jammu, Samba and Kathua - in Jammu division on August 1, 2011 by the Chief Minister at an impressive function at SKICC. The Jammu and Kashmir Bank gave the contract to two companies, WIPRO and Comptec, for the implementation of the project in the State but the contract was scrapped in November this year following objections raised by the Government. The two companies had already started the process when the contract was scrapped. The vice president of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and incharge of the UID project Khursheed Ahmad Pandit told Excelsior that the contract with the two companies was scrapped after Government raised objections over the tendering process. The Deputy Secretary of the Pepartment of Information and Technology (IT) in the State Government, Nazim Zai Khan, told Excelsior that the Government was not satisfied with the process of the tendering by the JK Bank. 'Since huge financial implications are involved in the project, we want that everything should be done in the transparent manner and that was the reason for the scrapping of the contract', said Khan. He also revealed that JK Bank didn't share the details about the selection process of the vendors while giving contracts to WIPRO and Comptec. 'We have asked the JK Bank to form a joint committee in which there are representatives of the Bank and Government so that the transparency is maintained', he added. It may be mentioned here that the Jammu and Kashmir Bank was paying ' 35 to WIPRO and Comptec for making UID cards while the Bank was getting ' 50 for each card from UIDAI. After the Government directive and scrapping of the contracts, the J&K Bank issued fresh tenders for the selection of vendors with December 12 being the deadline. The Comptec along with eight companies have filed the tender documents but the WIPRO has pulled out after its contract was scrapped. The UIDAI has approved 58 companies of the State as eligible for the UID project. One of the local companies, Eco Bay that is not registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for filing tender documents. The court has ordered that the JK Bank should allow the company to file tenders as the company's registration with the UIDAI is under process. The Court has also directed that the further process in the tendering should be stopped. Khursheed Ahmad Pandit said that they are filing objections in the court of law and are trying to get the case resolved as soon as possible so that the project may not suffer.