Transparent bidding process key to better roads, says committee

October 7, 2013

Prasad Kulkarni, TNN

PUNE: The tendering process for road construction in the city can become fairer and more accurate if the civic body implements the suggestions made in the road policy report prepared by the standing technical advisory committee.

The committee has suggested a slew of measures that would ensure better city roads, mainly a separate tender evaluation committee for major road works.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) submitted this road policy report to the Bombay high court on Monday, acting on its directive to do so. The report has provided recommendations to improve the road department’s works, road specifications and tender system, among others.

PMC officials said the committee was constituted to give expert opinion for framing the road policy in 2007 and had conducted seven meetings between 2007 and 2008.

The committee was not functional for the next three years, following the resignation of its chairman. It resumed work in 2012 and conducted 11 meetings to draft the road policy.

“The recommendations have been given to see that the tender process becomes more transparent. The administration has already taken steps such as introduction of an online tender system to increase transparency. The civic administration has started work on expert recommendations to improve road quality,” an official of the road department said.

The report states that the scrutiny of tenders must be done in a transparent manner and by an evaluation committee. In this committee, one member must be from the accounts or finance branch of PMC. However, at present there is no tender evaluation committee in the PMC and the tenders are evaluated at the level of the executive engineer.

Irrespective of the fact whether the tender is scrutinized at the local level or at the level of the committee, the scrutiny should be based on a standard format and there should be no room for subjectivity, states the report.

The report stressed that the procurement system should be such that it results in “speedy, good quality work at a reasonable cost through a transparent process” which is fair to all bidders and without disputes as far as possible.

The committee has also suggested changes in getting the security deposits for works, under which it has proposed to try out a “practice of accepting ‘earnest money exemption certificate” in lieu of submitting “earnest money deposit (EMD) for each and every tender”. According to the committee this change will reduce the paperwork significantly.

Important changes proposed in tendering system

*Tender evaluation

Current : Executive Engineer

Suggested : Committee of PMC with one officer from finance department

*Security deposit

Current : : Earnest money deposit

Suggested :: Earnest money exemption certificate

‘Make bidding process more competitive’

The standing technical advisory committee has suggested in the road policy that the civic body reach out to more and more contractors for a more competitive bidding process as it would eventually ensure improved quality of road construction.

The committee has asked PMC’s tender cell to circulate tender notices by email to all its registered contractors and also to those who wish to subscribe to this facility. A nominal fee for this purpose can also be charged if necessary.

“To ensure transparency, the aggrieved party should have the opportunity to seek redressal and the fact that such an opportunity is available should be made part of the tender document,” said the committee’s report.

The committee has stressed that use of modern technology be promoted so that contractors with sophisticated machinery come forward to work for PMC.

“Access to certain key machinery like pneumatic roller, vibratory rollers, computerized hot mix plants, mechanized automatic bitumen sprayers should be made mandatory for major projects. Every attempt should be made to introduce modern and latest machinery,” added the report.

Recommendations for better road contracting and construction system

1. Only good, experienced contractors with good track record and more than sufficient capacity to carry out the work will be able to tender for the work

2. Conditions of contract should be clear, unambiguous and definite

3. Opportunity should be given to seek clarification of any unclear clause or condition of tender papers through pre-bid meeting

4. There should be a fair, impartial and speedy dispute resolution mechanism built into the tender papers

5. Payment terms should be clear and well defined

6. The size of work should be such that it should be possible to have proper quality assurance on the work

7. A structured system of periodical dialogue with contractors to solve issues with each other

8. Extra attention to nurture good DPR consultants

9. For most usual work of roads, post qualification method is suitable as these works have to be done quickly

10. For very large works of new construction, where a long time is spent in planning, pre-qualification of bidders may be considered

11. Detailed drawings should be made part of tender document so that once the work order is issued, the work can proceed unhindered

12. To ensure adequate cash flow, it is necessary to make prompt payment of contractor’s bills

13. Provision for payment of interest in case of delay beyond the prescribed limit



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