Even as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Wednesday that the work on the Ambedkar Memorial will begin from next month, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is yet to award the contract for the project. According to officials, the MMRDA is still unclear as to whether the project will be awarded to a single bidder or they would have to invite bids again.
“We are currently negotiating with the bidder to lower the cost of the project. Depending on what comes out of the negotiations, we will decide whether to award the contract or re-tender the project,” said a senior MMRDA official.
Despite two calls for bids for the construction of the 350-foot statue, the MMRDA received response from only one bidder, Shapoorji Pallonji.
However, the contractor quoted Rs 783 crore for the construction, 26 per cent higher than the expected cost of the project. “It would be better for the government to invite bids again than spending such a huge amount. However, since we received such a poor response from both our calls, it seems like there are not many companies with experience to build a memorial of this kind. Inviting bids again might not yield a different response,” the official said.
During the second call for bids on November 2, the MMRDA had quoted an estimated cost of Rs 622 crore — higher than the initial estimated cost of Rs 550 crore, which had been quoted during the first call on April 14. The MMRDA initially proposed to award the work order to the contractor by December 6, the death anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Even earlier, during a review meeting of different MMRDA projects in October, the chief minister had directed that the work order for the project be given by November 15.