BMC fails to break contractor cartel | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC fails to break contractor cartel

The efforts made by the civic body to break the monopoly of a few contractors, who bag most of its multi-crore civil works contracts (CWCs), have come to naught as just 62 have bid for 1,755 tenders floated by it till mid-January. Kunal Purohit reports.

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2013 02:15 IST
Kunal Purohit

The efforts made by the civic body to break the monopoly of a few contractors, who bag most of its multi-crore civil works contracts (CWCs), have come to naught as just 62 have bid for 1,755 tenders floated by it till mid-January.

Senior officials admit that civil works worth around Rs 100 crore being carried out by a handful of contractors can lead to shoddy work. The cartelisation points to a nexus between contractors and officials, which ultimately results in waste of public money.

The new tendering system, which focuses on e-tendering to usher in transparency and more competition, has failed to get a good response and the civic administration is now probing whether the contractors are trying to sabotage it.

Contractors, meanwhile, say the new system is an 'impediment' to their functioning. "It becomes unfeasible for us to work with such small sums. Hence, we have been trying to convince civic officials and corporators to revert back to the old one. If they don't, not many contractors will be willing to take up work."

The earlier system had come in for severe flak as contractors, in nexus with officials and corporators, would 'generate' unnecessary work and splurge public funds. The new system did away with ward-wise contractors, and stressed on floating tenders for each new project to allow more bidders.

Not pleased with the changes, contractors have been making attempts to derail this system. HT had earlier reported concerns about how contractors are trying to damage the new system by filling low bids, and then refusing to carry out works despite being awarded the tenders. Insiders in the civic body had also hinted at how contractors were also fielding dummy firms while bidding for works.

Dilip Lande, MNS group leader and one of the most vocal opponents of the new system, said, "This system is a failure as ward officials and corporators are also unaware of it, leave alone contractors. The point of this system is defeated since contractors who earlier carried out CWC works, are now allotted major works."

Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner in-charge of e-tendering was unavailable for comment.