BMC Responds To Aaditya Thackeray's Allegations In Road Concretisation Project - Read Detailed Q&A Here

Here's the list of questions and its response by the civic body:

BMC Responds To Aaditya Thackeray's Allegations In Road Concretisation Project - Read Detailed Q&A Here

After Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Aaditya Thackeray’s letter to civic body alleging a scam in road concretisation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) released a 10-point statement claiming that due process of administrative procedures was followed by them.

On Monday, January 16, Thackeray wrote a 10-point letter to BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal questioning his role in the whole matter.

Reiterating his allegations of a scam in BMC’s 400-km road concretisation project and demand to scrap it, he cautioned that large scale concretisation of roads in Mumbai may lead to Joshimath-like situation in monsoon, days after he alleged irregularities in tenders floated to repair the roads.

Taking it to Twitter, Thackeray shared: “The BMC had earlier issued a clarification that went all over but did not address the “Scale, Scam & Setting” for road contracts in the mega tender. The tenders must be scrapped.”

In the letter, he said, for his better understanding, and that of Mumbaikars, he asked 10 questions. "Sir, I write to you in the best interest of my city, Mumbai,” Thackeray added.

Clarifying its stand, BMC released an official statement and exclaimed: "The planning, estimation, e-tender process for proposed concretisation of roads is done by following due process of administrative procedures as per the policy. BMC administration has already provided factual information regarding proposed concretisation of roads, still there is a criticism on the tendering process."

Here's the list of questions and its response by the civic body:

1. Who has proposed these 400 km of CC road works and who has sanctioned INR 6,080 crores for these road works? Is it the Municipal Commissioner/Administrator or the Chief Minister/UD minister?

BMC: The roads selected having 397 kilometers in length for improvement, are suggested by the then corporators, local public representatives and as per the recommendation given by concern Assistant Commissioners. Accordingly, the estimates are prepared and tenders are floated.

2. Is it fair in a democracy for an opaque administration to issue tenders worth INR 6000 crores for non-emergency works in absence of elected representatives, when there is no COVID emergency now or lockdown. Multiple roadworks is ongoing in the city, and we are in the second half of fair season for road works. These tenders were due for around September, last year.

BMC: The tenders are invited by obtaining the necessary sanctions from competent authority. As on today as per MMC Act 1888 Clause 69 (C), the Government of Maharashtra has appointed the Administrator (Municipal Corporation/ Standing Committee) from the date 08.03.2022. Accordingly, as per clause 6(C)(1) the tenders will be processed by following due process.

3. Where would INR 6000 crores be drawn from or diverted from? Would this affect any other schemes? Does the budget not require sanction of Standing Committee and the General Body of the BMC?

BMC: It is proposed to meet the expenditure in coming financial years, for the works undertaken in this proposed tenders. Expenditure for 5% mobilisation advance will be incurred in the current financial year and further budget provision will be made in the coming years in a staggered fashion.

4. What is the timeline of all the works proposed in the mega tender? Have permissions and NOCs from all relevant agencies been sought?

BMC: Time period for the proposed concretisation of roads is 24 months (excluding monsoon). Traffic police NOCs and other requisite departmental NOCs will be obtained at the earliest to start the works immediately. Joint meetings with Traffic Police and other departments will be conducted.

5. Why has BMC not negotiated the average 8% hike sought by the bid winners, over and above the revised SOR? The SOR was made on demand from contractors, as mentioned in BMC's clarification.

BMC: On the basis of current market rates of 2022, the Schedule of Rates is modified and estimates are prepared. As per the prevailing e-tender policy, the procedure of negotiation will be followed. The negotiation letters to reduce bid offer were already issued twice.

6. It is mentioned in the BMC clarification that the SOR was revised as no big contractor came for the August 2022 bids. Does market define the SOR or the demands from contractors? Will the BMC keep changing its SOR for contractors of its preference?

BMC: Since, poor response was received for tenders with rates of USOR 2018, the rates were revised considering current market rate. As per current guidelines, GST is excluded while arriving at the rates.

7. Since the stress has been on "National Experience" for contractors, where all have these contractors worked in cities similar to Mumbai?

BMC: The soak pits and perforated concrete is included in the new tenders to reduce the surface run off of water to improve the underground water table along with storm water drains.

8. Since working on greenfield highways is different than working in cities like Mumbai, how many kms of city roads have they made and at what rates in other cities?

BMC: The said tenders are invited by considering the good quality of work and highly experienced contractors. Many of the contractors have work experience in cities across the country.

9. The clarification also states that Institutes like 'VITI' and 'IIT' will be ensuring quality tests. Sadly, reports from both these reputed institutions were disregarded for one Gokhale Bridge. How will BMC regard it's reports for 400 km?

BMC: Corporation has kept the provision to appoint Quality Management Agency (QMA) to keep the proper check on quality of the work and to test the materials used for construction from reputed government laboratories.

10. Most importantly, how does BMC explain the apparent cartelization of the 5 packets for 5 contractors?

BMC: The said tenders are invited through e-tender process as per the prevailing policy of BMC and hence there is no substance in the matter.

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