BMC yet to decide whether to scrap garden maintenance tender worth Rs 45 crore

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Upkeep of nearly 400 gardens in the city is in limbo as the civic body is yet to decide if they should scrap the garden maintenance tender worth Rs 45 crore and issue a fresh tender or award the contracts despite the low bids.

Over four months ago, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had scrapped 24 tenders for the maintenance of more than 400 parks and gardens for a year after contractors bid over 40 per cent below the estimated cost.

Additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide had then decided to scrap the initial tenders and make contractors forfeit their security deposits.

The contracts were re-tendered. In September this year, contractors have again placed bids between 36 and 40 per cent below estimates in the fresh tenders. The BMC is still undecided this time around as the bids are low again.

With the contractors bidding below estimates once again, now several parks and gardens are without any full-time maintenance contractors. With elections around the corner, the corporators in the civic body are upset and are demanding that BMC should decide soon.

Ravi Raja, opposition leader and a Congress corporator questioned if the civic body has set inflated estimated costs, “The gardens are lying in poor condition as there is no daily maintenance. We are sure the quality of work will be compromised if the bids are so low and citizens will question us for it.”

The appointed agency’s work includes providing security, appointing gardeners, pruning overgrown trees and grass, maintaining walkways if any, watering plants among others.

BMC officials said the maintenance of the gardens is not compromised as contractors are appointed monthly. At the 24 ward levels, contractors are appointed monthly for maintaining the gardens but they too were appointed at rates that are 40 to 50 per cent below the estimate.

BJP alleged that the municipal body has failed to break the cartel of contractors.

The civic roads department is also facing a similar situation. Earlier this month, the BMC held back road contracts worth Rs 1,200 crore after contractors bid 30 per cent below estimates.

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