Same old firms, including one blacklisted earlier, bag contracts for roads in western suburbs

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) standing committee has approved the award of road contracts for western suburbs to the same set of contractors, including RPS Infraprojects, which was earlier blacklisted by the buildings proposal department.

Criticising the civic administration for its failure to attract big firms such as L&T and Gammon India, the standing committee cleared the proposal on the basis of the work's necessity. RPS Infraprojects has been blacklisted by the corporation for submitting fake bills for another project.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "RPS Infrapojects was blacklisted by the buildings proposal department in 2010. The roads department's tender norms and conditions are different from that of the building proposals department, so the company can bid for roads contracts."

Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said, "The reason not many companies bid this year is that they are not registered with BMC under the old bylaws. Big companies want to work only on bigger road projects. We should amend the bylaws so that more companies can bid in future."

Referring to the eight-month window BMC has every year to carry out road contracts, Samajwadi Party leader and member of the standing committee Rais Sheikh said, "The corporation has created a huge delay in bringing tenders for the western suburbs for approval before the standing committee. We are still to go through the tenders for the island city and the eastern suburbs. They have not even been opened yet. Barely four months are left before the next financial year begins but only 17 per cent of Rs 1,400-crore roads budget has been used so far."

According to the proposal, Prakash Engineers has been awarded the Rs 95.9-crore contract for asphalting roads in the western suburbs while K R Constructions (Rs 132.39crore) and RPS Infraprojects (Rs 135.87crore) have together been awarded contracts for concretising roads.

For the asphalt roads contract, Prakash Engineering bid 16.68 per cent lower than the estimated price of Rs 88.22 crore. For the two concrete roads contracts, K R Constructions bid 18 per cent lower than the estimated price of Rs 134.20-crore while RPS Infraprojects bid 29.29 per cent lower than the estimated price of the Rs 143.59-crore contract.

The six bidders were companies long associated with the civic body for the past five years at least. The three other bidders were Relcon Infraprojects, Vitrag Construction Company and R K Madhani.

To woo bigger infrastructure companies, the civic body doubled its tender packages by 200 per cent from Rs 50 crore. The corporation also changed the tender provisions and Mayor Sunil Prabhu announced that a single-window body would be set up to speed up projects.

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