BMC may re-tender 30 road projects in Mumbai that were flagged over concerns of quality

After doubts were raised over the quality of work in the wake of the contractors bidding up to 30% less than the estimated cost, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to re-tender 30 road repair projects worth over 1,000 crore in the city.
Mumbai, India - July 10, 2020: BMC workers repair pothole on Eastern Express Highway at Everard Nagar in Mumbai, India, on Friday, July 10, 2020. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - July 10, 2020: BMC workers repair pothole on Eastern Express Highway at Everard Nagar in Mumbai, India, on Friday, July 10, 2020. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Published on Sep 22, 2021 09:51 PM IST
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By Mehul R Thakkar, Mumbai

After doubts were raised over the quality of work in the wake of the contractors bidding up to 30% less than the estimated cost, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to re-tender 30 road repair projects worth over 1,000 crore in the city.

The re-tendering may lead to delay in starting road repair works. The final decision in this regard is expected in a day or two after consultation with municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.

On September 13, additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu had sought justification from the deputy municipal commissioner of infrastructure on how the quality will be maintained amid the contractors quoting around 30% less than the estimated cost. “I have received 30 tender files on the road works in city, eastern and western suburbs. It is surprising to see most of the tenders are quoted very much on the lower side. The department needs to explain how it intends to maintain the quality under control. When road supervision of 100% is not possible during execution at senior level, how will the quality of execution be ensured by the road department,” his letter read.

Following this, the road department was asked to submit a reply to the additional municipal commissioner who, in consultation with Chahal, is likely to take a final call.

A senior BMC official requesting anonymity said, “We had submitted the proposal after taking justification for quoting below the estimation and there is no question of going back to the contractors. We have now submitted our response and the final decision on whether to re-tender will be taken by the BMC chief.”

The deadlock over whether to re-tender or go ahead with the same tenders is expected to delay the starting of road repair works, which usually start in October, by a month.

Corporators have demanded that the road projects be re-tendered to ensure quality of the roads. Congress corporator and BMC’s leader of opposition Ravi Raja said, “Roads in the city are very important for citizens considering it also involves taxpayers’ money. If the contractors have quoted below the estimation and there is suspicion about the quality, there should be re-tendering. We need to understand that ultimately timely completion is only worth it if the quality of the road is good. We do not want a scenario where there will be potholes on the road within six months.’

BMC maintains around 2,055km of roads in the city. All major and minor roads are to be improved by way of resurfacing or repairing them using asphalt or concrete cement from the existing paver blocks.

BMC in the ongoing fiscal had curtailed its road improvement and repair targets by almost 45% compared to the last fiscal. According to estimates presented in budget 2021-22, BMC proposed to improve 157-km road network in the city and suburbs during 2021-22, which is less than the target of 289-km in 2020-21.

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Monday, October 18, 2021