To meet his ambitious target of awarding 12,000km of new road projects by June 2010, road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said the conflict of interest clause in the bid documents for highway projects will be further simplified by clarifying the term 'associate'.
The ministry has also got the cabinet's nod to change the terms of the request for proposal and request for qualifications for road projects on its own.
''We have spoken to the law ministry and are in the process of correcting the term 'associate'. New bids will be invited with a refined conflict of interest clause,'' he said at the Economic Editors' Conference. The changes will come into effect within the next two weeks, he said.
The private sector virtually lost interest in road projects over the last two years after the Plan panel, advised by Gajendra Haldea, introduced a string of tricky clauses in the bid documents.
The cabinet committee on infrastructure (CCI) recently approved the report of a prime minister-appointed committee chaired by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi that recommended that the roads ministry be given a free hand in making changes to the request for qualification (RFQ) and request for proposal (RFP), the basic bidding documents to be submitted by interested players. At present the cabinet's approval is required, leading to inter-ministerial wrangles.
The conflict of interest clause in the request for quotation (RFQ) and request for proposal (RFP) documents lists out grounds on which a company can be disqualified from the bidding process. Officials said the new norms would define the term associate and situations where it would be applicable.