EVEN AFTER the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) floated fresh tenders last month following the blacklisting of contractors implicated in the drain desilting scam of last year, contractors for the pre-monsoon cleaning of drains are yet to be finalised. Six months before the monsoon, BMC will now have to undertake a second round of tendering for most of the jobs to be contracted, raising doubts on whether the critical pre-monsoon preparedness will be completed in time.
BMC had floated total 52 tenders for desilting of Mithi River as well as of the major and minor nullahs in the city. Only eight contractors bid for 25 of the contracts. Four of these bidders had to be disqualified as they were single bidders. We will retender for 27 contracts which had no bidders as well as four additional tenders that had single bidders. The 31 new tenders will be floated next week, said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Laxman Vhatkar.
According to the storm water drains department, the contractors have placed bids in the range of 40 per cent to 300 per cent above estimates for the major nullahs. While BMC’s tender estimates were in the range of Rs 1,600 per metric tonne of silt, the contractors have bid around Rs 4,000 per metric tonne.
Vhatkar told The Indian Express on Monday that the tendering committee will meet later this week with the contractors. “They will have to make adjustments.
We cannot agree to such high rates. If they don’t bring down their rates, then we will have to re-float the tenders, he said. Demanding scrapping of the tenders and fresh bidding, Congress legislator Aslam Shaikh said, “Contractors whose names emerged in last year’s inquiries but were not blacklisted participated in this round of tendering. That is why the prices went up drastically.”