The Highways Ministry maintained that there shall not be any delay in taking action against violations.
The Highways Ministry has issued directions to all its agencies to blacklist and debar companies immediately if they have breached the ‘code of integrity’.
The integrity pact prohibits graft to obtain work and misrepresentation of facts in the bid documents.
The ministry maintained that there shall not be any delay in taking action against violations as it will allow defaulters to bid and get new projects with the government.
According to the circular issued by the ministry, there is no need to wait till the criminal case instituted by the investigating agency is concluded. In case there is enough material to proceed, the implementing agency shall go ahead with the imposition of penalty.
The circular states that the additional secretary in-charge of highways is the competent authority to debar firms.
On 2 August, the Finance Ministry had issued an office memorandum asking all ministries to implement the guidelines which it had circulated in November last year for debarment of firms from bidding.
The circular gave reference to a rule which specifies that a bidder shall be debarred if they have been convicted of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act or the Indian Penal Code or any other law, for causing loss of life or property or causing a threat to public health as part of execution of a public procurement contract.
There have been several recent cases of highway and structural collapse on the National Highways network. In recent months, there has been an increase in the number of debarment and blacklisting of companies by the National Highways Authority of India and the Highways Ministry.