The Rs 124-crore Colaba Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) project has been scrapped by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Reason: The alleged ‘irregularities’, including flawed tender clauses that would have benefitted contractors in case of a dispute.
Mehta has now ordered fresh tenders to be invited for the project, which will have stringent clauses to avoid discrepancies. The project is part of the ongoing Mumbai sewerage disposal project (MSDP-2) under which the construction and upgradation of WWTFs will be undertaken at seven places across the city. This is the second time the BMC has opted to re-tender the Colaba WWTF project. Just one company took part in the first tendering process last year.
The consultant appointed to prepare a detailed report last year on the Colaba WWTF, which will have the capacity to treat 37 million litres of sewage water daily, had made an estimate of about Rs 124 crore for the project. However, the contractor that was finalised to do the project quoted nearly Rs 200 crore, which is more than 50% of estimated cost. A senior official from the civic body said, “Despite discrepancies and without proper justification, the consultant was in favour of awarding the contract to the same contractor. After failing to take any decision, former municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte had sent this proposal to the TAC (technical advisory committee).”
After a detailed study and discussion, the TAC recommended cancelling the project and issuing fresh tenders. Even after the TAC’s recommendation, the department was undecided whether to go ahead with the project or not. However, the new municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta finally took a stand and decided to scrap the project. A source from the civic body said, “The tender was weak and flawed and could have created a problem like court disputes in the future.”
HT had recently reported about the delay in the construction of seven sewerage treatments plants and the sacking of the consultant appointed for the project. Another civic official said, “The high cost difference between the consultant’s estimate and the bidding has raised questions.”