In the backdrop of the Central government’s curbs on bidders of countries that share a land border with India, on the grounds of national security, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may have to scrap and re-invite tenders for construction of two 10-km underground sewer water tunnels (SWT) between Borivali and Goregaon.
BMC had in February 2020 shortlisted Chinese companies with their joint venture partners that also included Indian firms. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had granted a green nod to BMC to go ahead with appointment of a Chinese contractor for construction of the two tunnels.
However, the civic body said appointment was not done, and, in the light of new guidelines from the Central government, it may re-float tenders. India and China have been locked in a months-long border stand-off, which resulted in a deadly clash last month that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The Government of India via the Union Finance Ministry on July 23 amended the General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017 to enable imposition of restrictions on bidders from countries, which share a land border with India on the grounds of defence of India, or matters directly or indirectly related, including national security.
The countries sharing land borders can only bid, in case of special permission from the Central government. The civic body claimed it will float fresh tenders following all guidelines of the Central government. Additionally, BMC will also make changes to the tender process for the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) project, which currently allows any firm to participate in tenders.
P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We had shortlisted a Chinese company, but the appointment needed an approval of the BMC’s standing committee. In the meantime, the lockdown was imposed due to Covid-19, and we could not go further with the approval. However, with the fresh guidelines issued by the Centre, we may have to scrap the ongoing tender process and re-float fresh tenders.”
Both the sewer water tunnels proposed by BMC are to be connected to Malad waste water treatment facility (WWTF), and are part of . BMC had in March 2019 floated bids to appoint contractors for construction of sewer water tunnels in two phases.
The first tunnel is proposed to be constructed between Borivali and Malad WWTF, while the second is planned between Goregaon and Malad WWTF. Both the tunnels are proposed to be constructed on the linking road. The project is aimed at improving the quality and reliability of wastewater collection, treatment and promotion of its usage by bulk consumers and citizens.