It is alleged that Tamil Nadu Government is trying to create an artificial economic barrier, by preventing suppliers from other state from participating in the tender for procurement of over 48 lakh eggs per day valued over `200 crores. Madras High Court has directed authorities to keep in abeyance the tender process floated for procurement of 48 lakh eggs per day worth over Rs 200 crores under the Nutritious Meal Programme and Integrated Child Development Service Scheme.
When the matter came up for hearing on September 5, Justice R. Mahadevan said “The state shall file its counter by September 7, the petitioners can file their reply to the counter by September 12 and the court will hear the arguments on September 14. Till then as an interim measure, the process shall be kept in abeyance till September 20.”
The state has been divided into six zones and separate tender was floated for each zone. It allowed only actual poultry farmers to participate in the tender, which is arbitrary and discriminatory, the petitioners said. Advocate general, Vijay Narayan sought time to file counter. Granting time the court passed the interim order. A batch of petitioners, including a Cuddalore based Appu Food Products, stated that the government was procuring eggs through state-wide tenders since 2012 based on various deliberations and in-depth analysis of various other tender processes, which also ensured competitive pricing and Agmark quality eggs.
On July 24, the state government floated a tender for procurement of approximately 50 lakh eggs per day as per Agmark specification for one year and the tender opening date was fixed as August 24. However, on August 20 the government passed a GO cancelling the tender dated July 24 and introduced zonal level procurement for six months.
When the matter came up for hearing before Justice R. Mahadevan, Advocate-General Vijay Narayan submitted that the government as a policy has decided to float zonal wise tender not to favour anyone but to open the process for the participation of actual producer. This would reduce the cost of eggs. The decision was taken to avoid middlemen and encourage actual poultry farmers. This would also reduce the price of eggs.