Minor civil works at the ward level may continue to be done in a shoddy manner. This is because the civic body is likely to go ahead with the civil works contracts (CWCs) and road works contracts (RWCs), which had run into controversy a few months ago for receiving abnormally low bids by contractors, thereby raising doubts over the quality of work.
However, this time round, to avoid unsatisfactory work, the civic body will hand out work on trial basis, analyse the quality of work, and only then award the full contract.
Following bids that were around 40% lower than the scheduled rate, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s tender committee had asked the contractors to explain how they would carry out work at such low costs.
With the extension period given to old contracts ending on August 31, the civic body has decided to go ahead with the new set of contracts albeit with the ‘trial run’ precondition.
“We had asked for a rate analysis from the contractors but their explanations were very subjective. Hence, the strategy is to let them execute one or two works at the ground level and then analyse whether the quality of work is satisfactory within the rate they had quoted, before continuing with their contracts,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
A series of changes had taken place at the administrative level pertaining to ward level civil works after a note was internally circulated by civic chief accountant Ram Dhas in March highlighting a high degree of corruption under CWC which was a result of the contractor-corporator-official nexus. The civic body then adopted the new system of appointing 31 contractors for 24 administrative wards instead of the old practice of appointing 110 contractors.
However, this drew a lot of flak from corporators. “A number of questions remain unanswered as far as CWCs are concerned. When the contracts are placed before the standing committee for approval, it would have to be made clear how the administration plans to observe and assess works done by contractors on a trial basis,” said Manoj Kotak, standing committee member and BJP corporator.