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BMC Going Digital on Local Level Contracts

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To reduce corruption and achieve greater transparency, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to use technology. The BMC plans to digitise the process of allotting local-level civic work, which has so far been done by civil work contractors (CWC).

Sources said that after the BMC selects a panel of contractors who will be able to bid for local-level work, it will ask them to submit e-quotations. “Once we have the panel of contractors, for work less than Rs. 3 lakh, we will invite quotations, which will hopefully be opened the same day. If the work is more than Rs. 3 lakh, we will invite tenders, which will be opened in week. With technology, work will get easier and the process more transparent,” said a civic official, requesting anonymity.

Once the new system is in place, the expenditure will reduce by nearly a quarter, officials said. One of the advantages of the proposed system is that the BMC will identify the work that needs to be done. In the earlier system, work was dictated by the contractor, in collusion with corporators and officials.

The new system is also expected to improve the state of smaller roads as it will be employed for road works contractors (RWCs) as well, who are to maintain minor roads. The BMC has invited tenders for the appointment of RWCs, but has been dithering to appoint the short-listed ones as they have quoted low rates, and questions are being raised about the quality of work at such estimates.

Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta confirmed that the RWC system is in for a change. These changes are being brought in after the BMC’s chief accountant (finance), Ram Dhas, in an internal note, stated that contractors were creating work and making bogus bills for work not done and collecting payment.

The note alleged that contractors, in collusion with corporators and officials, would get big budgetary grants for bogus works.

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