The state PWD has reportedly approved L&Ts bid to construct Phase 1 of the ambitious Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial at a cost which is nearly 50 percent over the earlier estimate and well over that of the entire project.
L&T’s bid, which will still require a final cabinet nod, is for Rs 3,826 crore for Phase 1 of the project.
The Maharashtra Government’s earlier estimate for the initial phase was Rs 2,500 crore.
Public Works Department Minister Chandrakant Patil, who is in Mumbai for a cabinet meeting, however failed to comment on the hiked costs. Meanwhile, sources indicate that the government could retender the project due to the increased costs.
Reports also suggest that if the L&T bid is finally approved, it may not be in conformity with the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC’s) as well as the state’s own bid evaluation guidelines.
The guidelines say that there have to be at least three technically-qualified bids to open the financial bids for a project of this magnitude. However, for Phase 1, financial bids of only two firms were considered.
Apart from L&T, the other bid was put forth by Afcons-Shapoorji joint venture at a whopping Rs 4,779 crore.
The PWD had invited bids for the construction of the memorial in the Arabian Sea – billed to be the world’s tallest statue once built, at 192 metres – on an EPC basis (engineering, procurement, construction).
Over a dozen firms evinced interest in the project and PWD engaged Egis as the consultant for the pre-bid stage.
Incidentally, when first proposed by the erstwhile Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in 2009, the controversial project’s cost was pegged at around Rs 260 crore.
The PWD has since then widened the scope and estimated the project cost at Rs 3,600 crore, with the estimate for Phase 1 being Rs 2,500 crore and Rs 1,100 crore for Phase 2.
The L&T bid for just Phase 1 is thus well above the overall project cost and can take the total cost of construction to approximately Rs 5,000 crore.
Sources in the PWD told news agency IANS that only the cabinet could approve a project of this size.Back to latest news