Tender specifications and cameras installed does not match, says complainant

Phurpa Lhamo  | Wangdue

Barely a month after Bajo town inaugurated about 30 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, the latest facility in the town has come under the scanner of a fellow bidder.

In a written complaint to the dzongkhag with copies to the Royal Audit Authority and the Department of National Properties, the complainant has pointed out flaws in the quality and models of the equipment installed accusing it of not following tender specification.

The complainant, Ugen Trading House (UTH), claims that the contractor who installed the CCTVs has not fulfilled the tender specifications. The allegations are  refuted by the contractor of New Device Technology (NDT).

According to UTH, the bullet camera installed at Bajo town didn’t have 18x optical zoom and recording in colour at night features.

Chief Executive Officer of NDT, Tshering Dorji said that the bullet camera installed had 18x optical zoom feature. He added that the cameras installed were starlight cameras, which meant that the footages would be captured in colour if there was little light. “The starlight camera option is little better compared to other CCTV cameras.”

UTH also pointed out that the two pan-tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras installed at Bajo weren’t 3 megapixel (MP) as per the tender specifications. “The PTZ cameras only had 30x optical zoom feature, when the tender specified for 36x optical zoom,” it stated.

As pointed out by UTH, the PTZ cameras installed at Bajo town are with 30x optical zoom feature and is of 4MP.

On the mega pixels in question, Tshering Dorji said that because 3MP PTZ cameras were limited in the market, the three final bidders had quoted for 2MP PTZ cameras. “We gave assurance to the dzongkhag that we would provide the same brand with the 4MP PTZ camera and they accepted it.”

UTH technical person, Anup Pradhan said that while the 3MP PTZ cameras were rare in the market, it was not impossible to get it.  “We have used not only 3MP but cameras with more than 3MP in the past.” He further added that his company had installed PTZ cameras with 36x optical zoom feature in Samdrupjongkhar. Anup Pradhan also claimed that the cabinet boxes in Bajo town weren’t the specified IP65 certified as the cabinet boxes were locally fabricated. “Almost 50 percent of the 14 cabinet boxes installed were locally fabricated,” he wrote in the letter.

“We are surprised that there is a huge deviation in the equipment supplied but the tender evaluation committee has overlooked it.”

However, Tshering Dorji claims that the cabinet boxes were IP65 as specified in the tender. “Painting is different. Some cream colour and some are silver and cream mixed. But the material is same.”

Tshering Dorji added that similar issues arose in the past when he had won a tender work. “I think the court should charge some penalty to the person who files fake complaints and tries to waste our time.”

Dzongkhag official said that the dzongkhag would respond only to the “correct” authority should there be an inquiry and not to the UTH with regard to the installation of CCTVs.

Kuensel learned that the dzongkhag will bring in an independent expert to review the CCTV cameras. This is  in case of an inquiry on the CCTV cameras.

Work to install CCTV cameras in Bajo, Wangdue was tendered in 2018. The initial contract was awarded to UTH with the requirements to also include 16 cabinet boxes with the overall offer price of Nu 2,206,210.

UTH had denied the order due to the requirement placed by the dzongkhag.

In the second tender, the work was awarded to the NDT.

In the letter, UTH stated that details on brands and models of the devices were requested to be announced. This was because unlike in the first tender, live demonstration wasn’t done in front of all bidders during the second tender.

The letter further states that while the tender committee had said it would provide details, it wasn’t done.

Later, the committee had informed that post-tender details couldn’t be shared with the bidders in accordance with the Procurement Rules and Regulations 2009.

Since, UTH complained to the Independent Review Body (IRB) and then went to the dzongkhag court.  More than a year later, the court announced that the contract work was awarded to NDT as per the protocols of the Procurement Rules and Regulations 2009. However, the issue of cameras not matching specificatiosn is a new case.