BMC tops up road contracts to woo big firms

Size of each road contract to be raised to Rs 300 crore from the present Rs 165 crore to include maintenance work

Written by Sharvari Patwa | Mumbai | Published: August 20, 2013 1:57 am

To ensure big infrastructure companies evince interest in building roads,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may tweak tender norms by not only doubling the ticket size of contracts but also loading the costs by including annual maintenance works.

According to BMC officials,the master plan to concretise major roads in the city and lay asphalt on them is under preparation. This will involve road tendering contracts worth Rs 7,000 crore over the next four years,they said. The size of each road contract is likely to be raised to Rs 300 crore from Rs 165 crore so far.

“At present,road contracts are allotted with a defect liability clause (DLP) clause,which includes just pothole-related repairs. However,to ensure better quality of roads,the contractors now need to maintain these roads,which includes resurfacing and re-laying of 15-20 per cent of the roads every year,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner S V R Srinivas.

Besides less political interference and a single-window clearance system,the BMC will also ensure that continuous and big stretches of roads are allotted to a single contractor than the works being disbursed across wards.

“These companies usually have the experience of constructing highways or long stretches of roads and find it difficult to construct smaller patches of roads due to the smaller scale of work,” said an official.

Despite tall claims,the civic administration has failed to rope in large firms to allot road contracts for three years in a row. As a result,same old contractors have bagged these contracts.

This year,however,the BMC hopes to attract large firms by including maintenance post-construction work in road contracts.

“These firms have expressed their concerns over the delay in carrying out storm water drain work,which affects the quality of roads. So we need to ensure BMC will conduct drain repair work along with road construction,” said Srinivas.

Some corporators are,however,sceptical about the BMC’s plans. “These big firms will construct only long and major patches of roads,but what about minor roads that account for a majority of the city’s road network,” said Raees Shaikh,Samajwadi Party corporator.

“The lacuna in the BMC’s contracting system is lack of supervision and implementation. Present tender conditions that the contractor should own his own cement plant ensures that only six contractors who have been allotted road contracts for past 10 years remain eligible. One must change this rather than assuming that big companies can make a difference,” said Shaikh.

The civic administration,which met representatives of reputed infrastructure companies such as Larsen & Toubro,Gammon India,Simplex Infrastructure,IRB and HCC,will soon begin the tender process to allot road contracts worth Rs 900 crore for the next year.

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