The tourism department has been stung by the allegations of the 40% commission, with a complaint to the chief minister accusing ministers of purposefully delaying tender awarding in order to punish a company that won the offer to conduct river rafting services on the Kali river in Dandeli.
Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) issued a request for proposals in January for a water rafting activity on the Kali River.
The tender was to be granted to the company that offered the biggest percentage of revenue earned from river rafting tickets sold to visitors, according to the terms.
The cost of a river rafting trip is Rs 1,350 per person. According to officials, more than 150 tourists purchase tickets each day.
According to sources, the contractor that won the previous tender by pledging to give up nearly half of its share was given a one-year extension to operate until the current deal was awarded.
The activity’s overall revenue is estimated to be around Rs 20 crore.
The tender was won by three businesses who offered to share 64 per cent, 52 per cent and 50 per cent of the revenue.
The winning bidder was AllGoTrip Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which proposed to split 64 percent of the revenue.
On March 25, JLR wrote to the company extending the licence to carry out rafting activities.
The letter from JLR’s managing director stated, “You are requested to execute an agreement on a stamp paper of Rs 200 to effect the above contract.”
According to department sources, the contract would be signed within the next few days. “However, JLR didn’t sign the agreement. As the holiday season was half over, the company was keen to do it fast. But officials were pressured not to sign the agreement,” according to the sources.
The case reveals that the 40% commission scam has infiltrated the tourism sector, according to Deepak C N, state general secretary of Karnataka Rashtra Samithi.
“JLR has not signed the agreement because Tourism Minister Anand Singh has given instructions to hold up the file. Blocking the tender and extending the period of the existing company which shares less revenue with JLR during the holiday season has led to suspicions. It is clear that the minister is directly involved,” Deepak claimed in a complaint to the Chief Minister.
Anand Singh, Minister of Tourism, Environment, and Ecology, told Deccan Herald that he had issued oral instructions to keep the file on hold. “I have stopped the tender process. There is a lot of politics in the tender. We have earned double the profit when JLR conducted rafting activities. If we outsource it, our earnings come down. When we conduct it, our earnings go up 10 times. I heard complaints from localites. I didn’t know rafting involved so much revenue. JLR conducted rafting for nine months and earned profits. Is it wrong to verify this? Let those making the allegation answer the question,” he said.
Deepak questioned the minister’s choice when asked. “If a minister is convinced that tender should not be awarded and rafting should be conducted in-house, let him give it in writing. How come he is giving oral instructions for a month? Government transactions cannot happen based on oral instructions,” he said.