With contractors quoting drastically low rates to bag lucrative contracts for the development of 200 gardens in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to scrap the contracts.
Hindustan Times had reported on November 29 how contractors had bid as low as 68% of the BMC’s estimated cost of developing 200 open spaces, road strips, traffic islands and medians across Mumbai. In other words, if the civic body had estimated the cost of the work to be Rs100, these contractors had claimed they would be able to complete the work for Rs32.
Moreover, as part of the Rs 102-crore project, the BMC was supposed to appoint seven contractors — one for each zone. But these contractors had quoted rates between 30% and almost 70% below the estimate.
The ambitious project had been under a cloud ever since the low rates were revealed.
The civic body has now decided to scrap these contracts. In its place, the BMC said it will appoint contractors for each of the city’s wards, instead of just seven to develop all of the city’s open spaces. The cost of the project has also been trimmed to Rs92 crore.
Officially, the civic body claims this was done to ensure better implementation. “Having more contractors will mean the work will be done faster. In addition, we also want to get the work done before the monsoon,” said joint municipal commissioner (in-charge of gardens), SS Shinde.
When asked if the low rates were behind the BMC’s decision, Shinde said it was just one of the reasons. But officials told HT that the low rates had caused unrest among senior officials in the civic body, forcing the department to scrap the tenders.
However, this decision is also likely to affect the pace of the development of the city’s open spaces. Civic officials said they had found discrepancies in the estimates of the new tenders and as a result, the civic body may extend the deadline for contractors to submit bids.