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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mumbai: Pandemic puts brakes on Rs 2,500-crore civic projects

In April, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had floated tenders for appointing contractors for four projects, however, due to the lockdown it had to give an extension to each.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai | July 25, 2020 1:17:41 am
COVID-19 IN Mumbai, covid cases in mumbai, bmc, mumbai projects, modernisation of Deonar abattoir project, indian express news Officials said the civic body was working on exploring other options like this to keep the pace of work. (File)

The Covid-19 outbreak and the extended lockdown have put a spanner in the works of Rs 2,500-crore worth development projects, including rejuvenation and beautification of Poisar, Oshiwara and Dahisar rivers, modernisation of Deonar abattoir, consultancy services for the construction of a holding pond near Mithi river, up-gradation of Bhandup Sewage Treatment Plant among others, of the civic body.

In April, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had floated tenders for appointing contractors for four projects, however, due to the lockdown it had to give an extension to each.

According to BMC records, the tenders for modernisation of Deonar abattoir worth Rs 418 crore, rejuvenation of Dahisar river worth Rs 100 crore, and rejuvenation of Poisar and Oshiwara rivers under the Design, Build and Operate (DBO) scheme, worth Rs 751 crore and Rs 503 crore, respectively, were floated in April and the civic body was scheduled to finalise these contractors by June. Due to the lockdown, civic officials said, pre-bidding meetings could not take place, and eventually, the dates of opening of bids were extended to August and September.

The civic body had also floated tenders for the construction of around 7,500 houses for civic staff — of 300 sq feet and 600 sq feet — in areas like Fort, Dongri, Worli, Prabhadevi, Chembur, and Goregaon. Bids from contractors were supposed to open in the first week of July. But now, it has been pushed to September. The civic body has estimated about Rs 700 crore for the construction of these houses.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Infrastructure), Sanjay Darade, said the lockdown has affected the pace of the civic body’s infrastructure projects. “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have extended deadlines for the opening of bids from contractors. Also, most of the staff from all other departments have been diverted to Covid-19-related duties which have had an impact on the work in their departments,” Darade said.

The delay has been further aggravated as several contractors are facing a financial crunch. “Many contractors have expressed inability to provide EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) to be paid by the banks. Already working with limited staff, banks currently are giving priority to emergency needs,” a BMC official said.

Recently, the civic body held a first-of-its-kind pre-bid meeting with prospective bidders through video-conferencing. Officials said the civic body was working on exploring other options like this to keep the pace of work.

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