The Uttarakhand High Court has stayed a tender issued by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) pertaining to transportation of pilgrims' luggage by mules during the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The pilgrimage began Wednesday with the first batch of 59 pilgrims reaching Almora from New Delhi.
Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia on Tuesday stayed the KMVN tender while hearing a petition challenging its award to an undeserving bidder. The tender was given to the second lowest bidder instead of the lowest, the petition alleged. The petition filed by one Kundan Singh Bhandari of Dharchula claimed that online tenders were invited by the KMVN and were opened on May 28.
According to the petition, Bhandari filed the lowest bid of Rs 1.45 per kg per km for carrying luggage on the back of mules and Ashok Singh of Dharchula filed a bid of Rs 1.70. After negotiation, they settled on an amount of Rs 1.25 following which Bhandari submitted a sum of Rs 5 lakh along with a bond on stamp paper. However, Nainital District Magistrate Vinod Kumar Suman then called the second bidder Ashok Singh for negotiation and settled for an amount of 86 paise.
Bhandari challenged the decision after which the single bench of Justice Dhulia stayed the proceedings directing KMVN to file a reply. The court order at a time when the yatra begins is being seen as something which will cause inconvenience to pilgrims bound for Kailash-Mansarovar through the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand.