‘Favouritism rampant in the tendering process for pipeline reconstruction project’
In a letter to municipal chief Iqbal Singh Chahal and additional municipal commissioner (projects) P Velrasu, Raja stated that the management of the BMC was “a system run by contractors for the benefit of contractors”.
Mumbai: Ravi Raja, the former leader of the Opposition in the BMC, has alleged a ‘match-fixing’-like scenario in the tendering process for a reconstruction project of 100-year-old sewerage pipelines in Mumbai.
In a letter to municipal chief Iqbal Singh Chahal and additional municipal commissioner (projects) P Velrasu, Raja stated that the management of the BMC was “a system run by contractors for the benefit of contractors”. “The administration is always struggling to give work to a particular company or contractor and… there is never any consideration for the quality of the work or what will actually benefit Mumbaikars,” said the letter. “An example of this is the insistence on geopolymer lining trenchless technology in the pipeline reconstruction project.”
Raja said that earlier too a tender was issued for this work, where ‘machine-wound spiral lining’ was insisted on, but it was later changed and only a list of what could be achieved by a particular technology was mentioned. “Which was right, because it was wrong to insist on a particular technology,” he stated.
The Congress politician demanded to know why there was a special insistence on geopolymer in the tender. “Geopolymer lining technology has not been successful anywhere in the world and there are no examples of it being used in a city of Mumbai’s size, so it is clear that it is being insisted on only to get the work done by a particular company,” he said. “Why didn’t the BMC consult an institute like IIT to find out whether this technology is suitable or not?”
Raja also had issues with a huge project of ₹400 crore being given to one company, and said that the company should be given a pilot project first and see how successfully it could complete the work. He also alleged that the administration was supporting a cartel comprising a few companies to the exclusion of good suppliers. “The condition that the number of partners in this project should be no more than two is completely wrong,” he said. “On the contrary, up to three partners should be allowed in such large projects.”
Pointing to the errors in the present tender, Raja demanded that the municipal commissioner change it immediately. “The administrator of the BMC should show that he thinks of the interests of Mumbaikars and not those of a contractor,” he said.
Velrasu, when contacted, refused to comment.