In the wake of the road work scam that has recently come to light, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed major changes to the tendering process for civic contracts to keep a check on contractors’ cartels and the consequent irregularities.
Some of them include relaxation of norms to encourage bidders, implementation of uniform tender conditions for all departments and a mandatory five-year warranty period for contractors. Also, considering the manipulation in records maintained by contractors and civic engineers, the civic body is likely to introduce geo-tagging for all works.
The BMC recently filed a case against six contractors and two third-party auditors, along with suspension of two senior officials, after a probe report found the work on 34 roads, worth Rs352 crore, was substandard, with several irregularities.
Hindustan Times on May 5 reported the BMC was planning an overhaul of the tendering process to curb corruption and irregularities in civic contracts.
The steps are being taken on the basis of the recommendations made by a committee appointed by Mehta to look into the issue after the desilting scam surfaced last year.
In a bid to make contractors accountable for the work, the committee has proposed a uniform defect liability period (DLP) of five years for all types of civic work, said sources. If any problem arises during this period, the contractor has to fix it at his own cost. Currently, the civic body has kept a three-year DLP for mastic asphalt road and five-year DLP for cement concrete roads.
The civic body is also proposing geo-tagging of work. A senior civic official said, “Roads and desilting scams showed how supervision and monitoring had failed. The geo-tagging will give exact co-ordinates of the location at which the work has been carried out, so the manipulation can be eliminated. It will be part of tender conditions and every contractor must get the system installed.”
In an attempt to curb cartelization and promote fair competition among bidders, the civic body will reduce the deposit money up to 10% of the contract cost. According to the source, the BMC takes four types of deposits from contractors against the total contract cost, which is up to 40%.
Now, it may scrap the additional security deposit (ASD) and ask for performance guarantee, contract deposit and earnest money deposit (EMD), sources said.
The committee is also looking into simplification of the registration process, security deposit, dispute redress mechanism and alignment with central vigilance committee guidelines (CVC) to break the monopoly of a few contractors, who bag most of the multi-crore civic works contracts.