The civic body had grand plans to rid the city's roads of potholes, but that increasingly seems like an impossibility as the roads will once again be repaired and rebuilt by the same set of contractors, at costs up to 21% lower than estimated by the civic body.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had floated tenders worth Rs 365 crore for the concretisation and repair of asphalt roads in the western suburbs. The tenders were divided into three packets of Rs 88 crore, Rs 134 crore and Rs 143 crore, the bids for which were opened on Thursday.
The Rs 134-crore tender for the concretisation of roads in the H and K wards has gone to KR Construction, whose bid was 17% lower than the estimated cost, while RPS Infrastructure bid 21% lower for the concretisation of roads in P and R wards, the tender cost of which was estimated at Rs 143 crore.
The contract for asphalting roads in the western suburbs will go to Prakash Engineering, which bid 16% less than the estimated Rs 88 crore.
In its October 17 edition, HT had reported that despite the BMC's efforts, none of the big road construction firms such as HCC, Gammon India and L&T submitted bids.
"The bids are 16% to 21% lower than the estimated cost, but we have no option but to accept them as none of the big firms bid," said GS Agrawal, chief engineer, roads.
The BMC said it would try and attract the big companies in the future. "We will make sure that the quality of roads is world-class," Agrawal said.
Nitin Shah of RPS Infrastructure said: "I have my own stone-crushing plant and staff. The low bid will not compromise on quality, we have cut on other costs."
Civic officials said low profit margin and technical issues are the key reasons why big firms are not interested. "Civic road work is done in patches, but big companies prefer long stretches of roads," an official said.