The Madras High Court today stayed the operation of a tender, awarded to a private taxi aggregator for parking and operating a call taxi stand at the Chennai Central railway station here.
Justice K Ravichandrabaabu passed the interim order on a plea by Bharathi Cabs Private Limited, assailing the tender notification issued by the Divisional Railway Manager (Commercial), Southern Railways, Chennai, in favour of Ola, a mobile app-based cab aggregator.
The petitioner submitted that the Southern Railway invited tenders for parking and operation of a call taxi stand at Chennai Central through a July 2, 2017 notification.
The tender period was for a year and the reserve price was fixed as Rs 2.17 crore. The area of parking is 153.6 square metres.
The counsel for Bharathi Cabs said originally the tender was invited for an app-based taxi kiosk, but later a corrigendum was issued and it was changed into a call taxi stand. The change was made by the authorities, realising the safety issues involved in app-based call taxi, he said.
Since the upset price fixed was very high, Bharathi Cabs did not participate in the tender. Therefore, only three companies — Uber, Ola and Fast Track — had participated.
Though the reserve price was fixed as Rs 2.17 crore, none of the bids was for even Rs 1 crore. Instead, Uber had quoted Rs 80 lakh, Ola Rs 60.07 lakh and Fast Track Rs 60 lakh, Ravindran added.
In spite of the bidders quoting below half of the reserve price, the railways called for a tender, instead of cancelling the earlier one and allotted the project to Ola, the second highest bidder, since Uber was disqualified for failing to file the required documents, the petitioner said.
The counsel said Bharathi Cabs would also have taken part in the tender process if they had knowledge or even the slightest reason to believe that the tender would be allotted to such a low bid.
“The petitioner is ready and willing to take the tender for Rs 1 crore even now,” he said.
The judge then passed the interim order, staying the operation of the tender.
( Source – PTI )