Maharashtra govt may tweak tender, speed up Shivaji statue

Times News Network, August 9 2017

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The state government is likely to change the tendering pattern for the ambitious Shivaji statue project to get it moving faster and within its budget.

The public works department (PWD) had floated a tender for the first phase of the project, which, according to its estimates, should have costed Rs 2,300 crore.However the lowest bidder, L&T, has quoted Rs 3,826 crore–66% more than the estimate. TOI was the first to report about the high bids in April.

Since then, the department has tried negotiating with the company , but officials say the cost difference is too huge to reduce through talks. “We are planning to spilt the project into 5-6 chunks and float tenders for each. We hope this will bring the cost down,” said an official. Officials said separate bids can be invited for large works like construction of jetties, welding and electrification, construction and reclamation. MLC Vinayak Mete, chairman of the committee overlooking the project, said a decision on project cost will be taken in a month. “Officials said that they have had experience where a large tender didn’t manage to get a suitable response breaking it down to different components have always given better rates,” said Mete.

Officials said that by opening up the tenders to smaller packets, the number of bidders will also increase.”The eligibility conditions for the one large tender are strict, and only two companies could qualify in the first tenders. If we break it up, a few of the clauses can be relaxed and more companies could bid leading to better rates,” said another official.

The project was supposed to start by October, which looks unlikely. Sources in the finance department said the project is likely to go slow due to the cash crunch. Mete denied the financial issues that the state is grappling with will impact the project.

“The project will not need all the funds at once. This is spread over 2-3 years. For this year we already have a budget of Rs 200 crore kept aside,” said Mete.

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