Civic committee ‘rejects’ plan to fill trenches

After announcing last February that the BMC would henceforth undertake the work of filling up trenches on its roads dug up by utility agencies, the civic body has yet to appoint contractors for the job. The civic standing committee Friday rejected a proposal to appoint contractors for the task for the second time, as the infrastructure firms that came forward in the bidding process have quoted over 50 per cent lower than the estimated cost.

The tender for carrying out the work across Mumbai was first floated in June and received response from contractors bidding as low as 35-45 per cent. After the standing committee sent back the proposal citing the estimates to be too low, when the administration re-tendered based on its revised schedule of rates, seven firms participated in the bidding process and on an average quoted less than 52 per cent of the estimated cost of Rs 140 crore. The firms are J T Enterprises, Manisha Construction Company, Omkar Engineers & Contractors, Yogesh Constructions, Marshiya Infratech, K R Constructions and Asphalt India Corporation.

"We unanimously asked the chairman to call for a vote on the issue of whether to record or reject the proposal, but he did not pay heed. This will lead to approval of the proposal in 45 days. When the tender was first floated, contractors bid over 40 per cent lower than the estimated cost. The second time, contractors bid more than 50 per cent lower than the estimated cost, despite the rates rising," said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda.

Shewale said, "Previously, when the proposal received poor response, we sent it back to the administration for changes. Despite re-tendering, we still have a tepid response. I asked the members to come up with solutions for this problem, yet none of them have done so. We cannot keep referring the proposal back to the administration."

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