Brahmaputra Literary Festival (BLF) has a budget of Rs 42 lakhs earmarked for its publicity and the work was allotted to an advertising agency by the organisers “illegally,” alleged a source in the advertising industry of Assam.
The source said, “After the financial evaluation of the bids, the lowest bidder (L-1) was Aahana Ads and Outdoors which offered a quotation of Rs 29 lakhs. The second lowest bidder (L-2) was Media Unlimited which quoted Rs 30.40 lakhs. The tender however was awarded to Media Unlimited.” The source added that there is an “anomaly” in the process of selection.
The source said that according to the financial evaluation document, Media Unlimited was awarded the work after the agency reduced the quoted Rs 30.40 lakhs to Rs 27.37 lakhs. The source said that any negotiation after the opening of the financial bid is not legal according to tendering norms.
Countering the allegations, a senior official of the Publication Board of Assam (organisers of the festival) said that Aahana Ads was L-1 after the bid was opened but they had quoted Rs 1.47 lakhs for installing 400 wooden kiosks across Guwahati which is impossible as Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) charges Rs 900 as tax for one wooden kiosk.
The official said that the GMC tax would, by itself, cost Rs 3.60 lakhs for the kiosks. It was clearly mentioned in the tender document which was floated that the amount quoted should be inclusive of all kinds of taxes. Therefore, the financial evaluation committee rejected Aahana Advertising’s bid despite the fact that they were the lowest bidder, the official clarified.
The advertising industry experts however feel that the GMC tax is the exclusive concern of the advertising agency and not of the organisers. GMC very well understands it prerogative of how to collect its taxes, an expert said. One of the experts said that the lowest bidder should have been awarded the tender as they clearly qualified in the technical bid.
Many advertising agencies participated in two rounds of evaluation – technical and financial. After the technical evaluation, five advertising agencies were selected (Aahana Ads and Outdoors, Binayak Advertising Pvt Ltd, Marcom Media, Media Unlimited and Prodigy Communications and Marketing Ltd). Eventually, only three were shortlisted and Aahana Ads and Outdoors was the lowest bidder.
The three-day festival will be inaugurated on 9th February by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal where prominent writers like David Collin and Indranath Choudhury will be present.
Many prominent writers to throng BLF, claim organisers
The three-day Brahmaputra Literary Festival is expected to witness the participation of more than 120 literary personalities from different parts of the world, according to the organisers.
Reputed litterateurs of the northeast have also been invited for the festival to be held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra from February 9 to 11, 2018, said a source in the organising committee.
Publication Board, Assam and National Book Trust are jointly organising the festival.
“The festival is going to be the biggest literary festival in the northeast and one of the biggest such festivals in the country. This is the second edition of the festival and so we have invited many literary figures to offer our local literary persons a platform for interaction,” said an official of the Publication Board, Assam.
The event allows free entry for all and the organisers have also invited college students and teachers for interaction with the reputed literary personalities.
The interaction would offer the city’s teachers and students a better understanding of the literary personalities and become familiarized with their works.
The organisers aim to make the Brahmaputra Literary Festival as big an attraction in the world of literature as the Jaipur Literary Festival held annually in Rajasthan.
By: RAHUL CHANDA | Source: G-Plus