BMC junks ₹402 crore tender to revamp Deonar abattoir
This is the fifth tender that municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has scrapped this year, which amounts to a total of ₹1,464 crore
Mumbai A week after the new government took charge of the state, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) junked its ambitious proposal of revamping the 54-year-old Deonar abattoir.
This is the fifth tender that municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has scrapped this year, which amounts to a total of ₹1,464 crore. Before the Deonar abattoir tender, Chahal scrapped a ₹569 crore tender for laying utility trenches, ₹160 crore tender for creating a tunnel laundry, ₹291 crore for making additional animal enclosures and a ₹44 crore tender for making an aquarium inside the Byculla zoo.
The civic body had floated a ₹402 crore global tender in March this year with the aim to revamp the largest slaughterhouse in the country by setting up a food processing plant, latest refrigerator systems for storing meat, loading-unloading ramps, solar roofs, separate slaughtering units, waste-disposal units and construction of rain-water harvesting system inside the premises.
The idea of revamping the abattoir was first pitched by former municipal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta, back in 2016, who had also proposed setting up a knowledge centre about different breeds of animals inside the plant.
Chahal maintained that the tender has been scrapped owing to several ‘fundamental errors’ in the project. Chahal’s decision also came after legislators and former corporators from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pointed out discrepancies in the project and alleged cost-escalation and rigging of tenders.
“The tender that we floated earlier stated that the contractor that will carry out the construction works will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the abattoir for 15 years. While the construction part includes civil and electrical works, the maintenance of an abattoir requires specific expertise so it was a fundamental mistake to include both these clauses in a single contract. Therefore, I have decided to scrap this project entirely on technical grounds,” Chahal told HT.
Chahal also maintained that a new tender may be floated for this project after reworking the technicalities. However, he also maintained that a timeline for floating these new tenders is yet to be fixed.
“We will be reworking on the technicalities and float two separate tenders for operation and maintenance. For the previous tender, only two to three companies participated in the bidding process. After we float these new tenders, we can expect at least eight bidders,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders likened the scrapping of tender to the change in the state government.
Vinod Mishra, who had pointed out irregularities in the project and had written to the commissioner earlier in April, said that this project was unscientific.
“The tender clauses said that daily 25,000 animals would be slaughtered, meanwhile in Mumbai the requirement is only 500-600 animals per day. The entire project was planned in an unscientific manner and the shortlisted consultant was also blacklisted,” said Mishra.
“The clauses in the project were also drafted carefully to match the eligibility of certain contractors who were supposed to bag the contract. Also, due to this cartelization, several eligible firms were unable to participate in the bidding as well,” he said.
Mihir Kotecha, BJP legislator from Mulund, has said that the success of this project would have benefitted a certain number of ministers of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
“The bidding process was already pre-decided. The shortlisted contractor was a European firm whose primary agenda was to use the slaughterhouse and export the meat privately for their own personal benefit. We had carried out a proper investigation before making the allegations and have furnished all the details to the commissioner as well, following which the tender has been scrapped,” said Kotecha.