Activists raise concern as contractor appointed by BMC to maintain city’s cycle tracks bids much lower than the others
The BMC had estimated a cost of R5.91 crore for maintenance for a year of the cycle tracks such as this one at Ghatkopar, while the contractor bid Rs 3.72 crore. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Activists and experts have raised concerns after the BMC recently appointed a contractor who bid 37 per cent lower, to maintain the city’s 15-km cycle tracks. They have questioned why he is ready to work at 63 per cent of the cost.
Officials said that the contractor has expressed willingness to maintain the cycle tracks that are beside gardens and major water pipelines, at 37 per cent less than his competitors. The BMC has been developing gardens with a cycle track along with the major pipelines following a ruling from the Bombay High Court. After a year the contract to maintain the gardens and cycle tracks ended in June, the BMC decided to appoint a fresh contractor to maintain them.
The lowest bid
According to the proposal approved last week, the BMC called a tender to maintain the 15 km of cycle tracks along with the main pipelines. The civic body estimated a cost of Rs 5.91 crore for one year of maintenance. The lowest bid received was Rs 3.72 crore, 37.12 per cent lower than the estimated cost.
BMC officials said that they will be more vigilant while monitoring the work and quality will not be compromised. “As per guidelines, we have chosen the lowest contractor. The work consists of maintaining cycle tracks, the pathway, service road, drainage and gardens. We will be vigilant about the work of the contractor. Our officials will regularly monitor the work. The quality of work will not be compromised,” said a BMC official.
The five-kilometre cycle track between Ghatkopar and Sion. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Activists feel this tender process itself is questionable. “If the estimate is prepared according to the market rate, how is it possible someone is ready to work at just 63 per cent of the cost? It is suspected that this estimate has been prepared this way to ensure that a certain contractor gets the contract,” said civic activist
The BMC has developed a total of 15 km cycle tracks at various places. This includes a 7-km cycle track and garden along with the main pipeline between Mulund and Sahar. There is a 5-km track between Ghatkopar and Sion and a 3-km long track between Powai and Sakinaka.
Godfrey Pimenta, another activist, has also slammed BMC. “Can a contractor who works at a rate of 37 per cent less maintain quality of work? This makes the tendering process itself suspicious. Building a cycle track just because there is space, then spending money on maintenance is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Pimenta. Nikhil Desai, another activist has said if someone works at such a low cost, the quality will be compromised.