Focus/Spotlight

Caps and shoes for Police personnel | A long wait

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The tender process of bulk purchasing 60,000 caps worth more than Rs. 100 million for police constables (PCs) has been delayed for two years, The Sunday Morning learnt.

The tender, which had been processed through the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during the past two years, was finalised a few weeks ago and the Police Department was to sign the agreements with the company which won the tender in a week’s time, it is learnt.

A well-informed source attached to the Department, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Sunday Morning that there was an ongoing court case against another tender awarded to a Chinese company to purchase 75,000 caps many years ago and the decision was to be expected within the next few weeks.

The case is currently going on at the Commercial High Court of Colombo and has been filed as the products were not supplied by the Chinese supplier on time, the source explained, adding that while the case was going on, the Department had then processed another tender to purchase caps for PCs, which had been delayed for almost two years as of now.

According to the source, during that period, since the second tender was also delayed, the Department had opted for small purchases at events like police parades and Independence Day celebrations, to meet the demand and make sure all PCs received the required equipment.

“Since we went for small-scale purchases while the tender was being processed by the MoD, there was no shortage of caps for PCs,” the source stressed, pointing out that the Department was expecting that a decision will be given by the courts in the coming weeks and the stocks would be supplied by the supplier who won the tender within four months of the Department signing the agreements.

However, the source also clarified that none of the payments had been made with regard to the two tenders and that the payments will only be made after the products have been delivered.

As learnt by The Sunday Morning, the two tenders are worth more than Rs. 100 million each.

In the meantime, another shoe tender for 8,000 women police constables (WPCs) has been delayed for eight months, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Accordingly, the tender was to be awarded in January but had been delayed due to a field test which is currently ongoing.

“A field test is going on to test the quality of the shoe and samples are being tested for four months. The report is expected on 31 August and once the report is submitted, the products will be purchased,” the source said.

A pair of shoes is worth around Rs. 3,000 and the value of the tender is around Rs. 24 million, it is learnt.

Meanwhile, when contacted by The Sunday Morning, Police Media Spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne said that there was a delay and it is currently being rectified. He also said the relevant items will be supplied to the PCs and WPCs within the next few months.

“Even though there was a delay, there was no such issue related to the items as there were enough items already provided by the Department to all PCs and WPCs,” SSP Senaratne said, adding that the issues that cropped up with regard to the quality of the items supplied by the suppliers had caused the present delay in receiving the necessary items.

“PCs can usually use their caps for two or three years and the WPCs can also wear a pair of shoes for more than a year and therefore, none of these had affected their duties and no PCs are currently serving at the Department without caps,” he stressed.

The Spokesman went on to say that there were around 85,000 police cadres attached to the Department and out of that, around 75,000 are getting all uniforms and other required items from the Department.