After much delay the government has finally terminated the controversial contract for installing the High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) in Goa. The termination notice was served on 25th January on M/s Shimnit Utsch Private Limited, the company awarded the contract after perusing its reply to the show cause notice issued earlier.
According to Transport Director Arun Dessai, the contract has been terminated due to the irregularities pointed out by the Srivastava Committee constituted to look into this matter. He said the company failed to satisfactorily reply to many of the issues raised by committee which were mentioned in the Show Cause Notice issued to the company on 2nd November 2009.
One of the grounds mentioned for the termination of the contract is the company’s failure to intimate the government about the changes in its Board of Directors.
The agreement signed on 29th February 2008 had raised a hornet’s nest with the main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party even taking to the streets demanding its cancellation on grounds that the local Goans were being looted by the company that was collecting exorbitant fees for the plates.
In fact, even the Supreme Court in May last year observed that the rates quoted by the company could be scaled down. Transporters in Goa too were up in arms against the company and faced with the protests from all angles, the government had constituted the Srivastava committee on 18th August 2009 to study the matter.
After the Srivastava committee recommended the cancellation, the government issued a show cause notice and after receiving the reply from the company has now finally terminated the contract.
However, the question that needs to be answered is what happens to all those law abiding Goans who purchased the number plates paying through their nose? Will the government reimburse the extra money they paid?