To show some progress in its manifesto promise of constructing a mid-sea Shivaji statue before the Assembly elections later this year, the Congress-NCP led government has called for tenders for appointing a project management consultant (PMC) without fixing a minimum or maximum bid price.
The Public Works Department (PWD), which handles government-related construction projects, fixes the consultancy fee for PMC as a percentage of the total project cost or, in cases where it calls for bids from contractors, fixes a minimum reserve price.
However in this case, the 145 page-long Request for Proposal (RFQ) makes no such mention of the fee leaving it entirely to the bidders to quote their price. The RFQ pegs the total cost of the project at Rs 1,500 crore, a 15 times increase from the estimated cost of Rs 100 crore when the project was first proposed a decade ago.
Even if the PMC quotes one to five per cent of the project cost as its fee, the payment could range anywhere between Rs 15 crore and Rs 75 crore. Technical bids for the project are expected to be opened next week followed by financial bids by those shortlisted in the technical round. The project is expected to take five years to be completed.
“There must be some projection in the RFQ about the payment, it is not possible that it has not been mentioned,” said PWD principal secretary Shyamal Mukherjee. On pointing out that there is no such mention, he said, “I will have to go through the documents before I can comment.”
While NCP leader and Mumbai’s guardian minister Jayant Patil, who chairs a high-power committee for the project, was unavailable for comments, a senior PWD official agreed that this is a deviation from its usual practice. “This is a project that is different from everything we have done so far. Hence we were not sure of the costs and have asked the bidders to quote their rates depending on their estimated costs,” he said adding that the PMC would be finalised by June.
The technical committee, that will screen the proposals for PMC, comprises the principal of the JJ school of architecture, architects from MMRDA and BMC but excludes PWD’s own chief architect. The RFQ describes the work of the PMC as “providing consultancy services from concept to commissioning (on turnkey basis)”.
This includes acting as an architect for the project wherein it will flesh out the new design submitted by the JJ school principal for a 190 m high statue that will slightly be taller than Gujarat’s under-construction Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue. The move has been contested legally by Team One architects that was appointed by the Ashok Chavan government to design a 98 m statue in keeping with state government’s then requirement for a memorial of the warrior king that towers over the 93-m high Statue of Liberty.
The new equestrian statue will now come up on an 16 hectare rock in the Arabian Sea off Marine Drive and will have an amphitheater, sound and light shows, art museum, aquarium, viewing galleries, landscape garden and open spaces for accommodating around 3,000 people.