Why has Byculla zoo revamp been delayed? Mumbai civic body sends letters, not emails
Mumbai civic officials said it may take six more months before Phase II of the project beginsmumbai Updated: Oct 09, 2017 13:43 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) failure to keep up with the digital age has led to the Byculla zoo revamp being delayed. Despite having email at its disposal, the civic body is still using postal mail to verify the credentials of bidders for Phase II of the project.
Civic officials said it may take six more months before Phase II can begin. This phase includes the construction of 17 animal enclosures for Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, sloth bears and jackals. In August, bidders who applied for the Rs120 crore contract of Phase II submitted certificates of their work experience with certain private and government bodies. The BMC then sent letters to these firms based in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, and even Oman, to verify the contractor’s credentials.
“Four bidders applied and we are verifying 20 to 22 certificates. However, the bidders did not submit the contact numbers or email addresses of the parties they previously worked for. We only have their addresses, so we send speed posts. We have to wait till we get a reply confirming their credentials, only then can we move ahead and award the contracts,” said a civic official, who did not wish to be identified.
The deadline to open bids has been extended thrice, with the latest one being pushed to October 9. The civic body missed earlier deadlines in September for the want of verification. Now, officials are still uncertain whether all the documents will be in place on time. “There are only five more certificates to be verified. Following this, we can open the bid packets. But, we cannot say how soon all five parties will get back to us with the verification,” added the official.
This time, the BMC has decided to verify the credentials of all bidders. It usually verifies only the lowest bidder, in case of tenders for other civic works
Civic officials said the BMC has asked all applicants to submit Rs500 and an undertaking, saying the contractor will bear the cost of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) over and above the final cost of tender. Some are unwilling to do so, which has led to further delays, sources said.
“It is so simple to do a basic internet search and find the party’s phone number or email address. Besides, there are options such as Skype, which let you video call. Verifying documents should be simpler. At the end of the day, Mumbaiites stand to lose out if the zoo revamp is delayed,” said activist Rishi Agarwal.