Monopoly in free egg scheme to end

Monopoly in free egg scheme to end

CHENNAI: After years of monopoly in the procurement of free eggs for the government-sponsored free noon meal scheme, the state government has begun the process of inviting bids from poultry farmers for the first ever zone-wise

tender.  This has been a long-pending demand of poultry farmers. The “changes” in the eligibility criteria saw producers or consortium of farmers taking part in sizeable numbers to serve eggs to more than 45 lakh children a day in government schools and ICDS-run anganwadis. Their participation will ensure there are no middlemen.

The current bidding process comes after the state revoked a controversial tender in July, in which the technical bids of all six companies were found to be “erroneous”. One of the main bidders – T S Kumarasamy, the sole supplier until now, came under the income tax department’s lens and searches were carried out at his premises. “Now there cannot be traders but just producers. At least 46 bids have been received from producers and consortium of producers within the state. The processing of financial bids is on before the issue comes up in the court next week for a directive to open them,” said a senior government official.“

we have been seeking participation in the bids as it would only benefit the government,” said

Tamil Nadu poultry farmers association president A K P Chinraj. The present tendering is only for six months, since the government would have to study the module and the execution by the poultry farmers. The present supplier, Kumarasamy has been the lone bidder in the state-level single tender system since 2012 and supplies eggs at a cost of Rs 4.34 per piece. The monopoly began when Jayalalithaa government modified the tender conditions demanding that the bidder execute a contract of having supplied eggs or any other similar food material for a value not less than Rs 90 crore in a single contract.

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