New tenders, same result: contractors in Mumbai again offer low bids for garden maintenance | News from Mumbai

MUMBAI: Contractors have beaten the BMC’s gardening department once again. Despite the loss of down payments due to low bids on the previously retired tenders for the maintenance of more than 200 parks and gardens in the city, contractors have again placed bids around 40% below estimates on the new tenders.
The other community commissioner Ashwini Bhide, who had made the decision to cancel the first tenders and let the contractors forfeit their deposits, said the file was being processed and the competent authority would take a decision shortly.

The need for well-tended, easily accessible open spaces has become even more acute after the pandemic. It was a good move that the BMC had forfeited deposits from contractors who bid way below estimates and would have done a poor job in the end. However, with the contractors still bidding below the estimates for the second time, the BMC must conduct rigorous audits, quality checks and monitoring to improve and beautify the open spaces.

In July, the BMC canceled 24 tenders worth Rs. 50 billion to maintain more than 200 parks and gardens for one year after contractors bid more than 40% below estimated costs and allegedly tried to form a cartel. The contractors had also lost deposits totaling around Rs. 50 lakh for the low bids.
The road construction department was also faced with a similar situation. Earlier this month, BMC withheld Rs 1,200 billion worth of road contracts after contractors bid 30% below estimates. Civic officials said they are likely to make new bids and suggest increasing the deductible payable to contractors from the current 2% to 15% and not paying the amount until after the sixth year of construction based on the quality of the work.

The BMC has 1,052 open lots for a total of 1,200 acres.
“We had published new tenders for the maintenance of parks and gardens and the estimates were lowered by 20%, but even then the contractors were bidding almost 40% below real costs. This may be because there is no business due to the lockdown and they want to get work to ensure their survival. So many contractors are willing to work without profit or loss just to keep their businesses going, ”said a senior ombudsman.
With contractors bidding below estimates again, several parks and gardens are now without full-time maintenance companies.
The BJP alleged the community failed to break the contractor cartel. “This shows that the contractors are more powerful than the civil corporation,” claimed BJP entrepreneur Vinod Mishra.
“The BMC is now making short term supply contracts to the same companies at over 50% below the estimated cost. There is no point in discarding the tenders and then giving work to the same companies, ”said Mishra. “The companies that bid below 30% for the second time must be blacklisted. The BMC must conduct very strict quality controls and audits and appoint contractors immediately. The BMC must also conduct an investigation into the officials making the estimates. How can contractors bid below 40% of actual estimates? ”
While BMC usually advertises a two-year contract, this year a term of just one year was planned.

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