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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Civic body finally gives in to pressure by contractors

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 08, 2013
First Published: 01:36 IST(8/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:38 IST(8/3/2013)

Repeated attempts by contractors to sabotage the civic body’s new system that was meant to bring in more transparency in civil works seem to have succeeded.

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Dissuaded by the lack of interest shown by the contractors in carrying out minor works, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to award contracts worth larger amounts to ensure that contractors show interest.

Under the old system, the civic body would appoint one contractor for roughly two wards. After facing flak over corruption and lack of accountability in the money being spent, the BMC had decided to identify specific works and float tenders for every work that takes place under the ambit of the civil works contracts (CWC) system.

Irked with the move, contractors have repeatedly tried and stalled the working of the new system. Hindustan Times has been reporting how contractors used various tricks -- from refusing to start work even after bagging contracts to floating dummy firms -- to derail the tendering process.

Admitting to the lack of interest from contractors, additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “We have received quite a few complaints against contractors refusing to carry out work. So, we have now decided to merge a few smaller works and float bigger tenders to lure contractors.”

Gupta said that this would be done after checking the response to the bids. “We plan to first issue tenders of smaller amounts to gauge the response. Once it is confirmed that contractors are not submitting their bids, will we start merging the works. So, if there are around 10 bids of smaller amounts, they will be merged so that the final tender will be of a substantial amount, running into tens of lakhs,” he said.

Corporators, who have been crying hoarse about contractors not expressing interest in carrying out works, are happy with the order.

An internal note written by a senior civic official last year had alleged that a nexus between corporators, contractors and officials was leading to various irregularities and corruption in the CWC system. Ramesh Korgaonkar, a Shiv Sena corporator and chairman of the works committee, said, “Contractors are refusing to take up any work of smaller amounts. The public is suffering because of this. So, it is important for the administration to take steps to ensure that contractors are ready to work.”


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