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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Maintenance bids low, upkeep of Mumbai gardens may be delayed

🔴 The corporators have alleged that low bids are indicative of poor quality work.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: January 12, 2022 8:01:11 am
Maintenance bids low, upkeep of Mumbai gardens may be delayedThe corporators have alleged that low bids are indicative of poor quality work. (Representational)

UPKEEP OF over 400 gardens in the city may get delayed again as the elected representatives are likely to question, and dismiss, the civic body’s decision to go ahead with contractors who have bid 36 to 44 per cent below the estimated price. The corporators have alleged that low bids are indicative of poor quality work.

In September last year, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had scrapped 24 tenders for the maintenance of more than 400 parks and gardens (across 24 administrative wards) for a year after contractors bid over 40 per cent below the estimated cost. Additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide had then decided to scrap the initial tenders and make contractors forfeit their security deposits.

The contracts were retendered. BMC also lowered the estimated price of the contract. However, contractors again placed bids between 36 and 44 per cent below the estimates. After two months, BMC has now decided to go ahead with the contract.

BMC officials said maintenance of gardens is not compromised. At the ward-level, contractors are appointed on a monthly basis for maintaining the gardens but this too is done at rates 40 to 50 per cent below the estimate.

The proposal will be tabled in the upcoming statutory standing committee meeting scheduled for this Friday. The appointed agency’s work includes providing security, appointing gardeners, pruning overgrown trees and grass, maintaining walkways if any, and watering plants.

With elections around the corner, the corporators are upset. Opposition leader and Congress corporator Ravi Raja has asked if the BMC has set inflated estimated costs, “How will the gardens be maintained if the bids are so low, and citizens will question us for it…I think the administration has to rethink the policy where if the bids are below 50 per cent the estimate, they should not be considered at all.”

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