Kochi: The Kerala High Court has directed the Public Works Department to modify its portal after labour contract cooperative societies faced issues in filing applications for renewal of license. Justice N Nagaresh issued an order directing PWD to solve the technical issues on the portal within two months.
Kozhikode Vatakara Kadathanad Labour Contract Co-Operative Society, Mukkom Nellikkaparamby Labour Contract Society and Mavelikkara Kairali Labour Contract Society moved a petition in the High Court over the technical glitches of the PWD website. The petitioners alleged that they are unable to renew their licence and participate in the tender as there is no option available for co-operative societies on the PWD portal. It is pointed out that the co-operative societies started to face the issue after the launch of the new portal.
The HC has issued the order after observing the digital divide in the issues faced by some co-operative societies.
“ While giving priority to co-operative societies in PWD works, the occurrence of technical glitches in renewing licence and issuing contract are examined as digital divide,” observed the HC.
Earlier, Mathrubhumi had published a report on the issues faced by the co-operative societies after failing to renew the licence.
Over 750 Labour Contract Co-Operative Societies are functioning in the state. Of this, only 402 are efficiently working. After failing to renew the licence, the societies were unable to take the tender for works in major departments. The operation of co-operative societies except the Uralungal Labour Contract Society was interrupted due to this issue.
Meanwhile, the PWD argued that allowances are being given to the Labour Contract Co-operative Societies based on orders of the department of cooperation.
A society will be allowed to participate in the auction procedures based on the registration certificate issued by the department of cooperation. PWD Manual Rules of 1913 for registration of contractors do not apply to societies. Hence, bringing changes in the portal is not practical, argued PWD.