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Flyover hits bidder block

The contract to build the incomplete portion of the Parama-Park Circus flyover still has no takers, forcing the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority to contemplate calling for fresh bids with revised terms and conditions.

A meeting scheduled for next week is expected to take a call on which clauses need to be tweaked to make the contract attractive to potential bidders. The buzz is that a few interested infrastructure companies are unhappy with the present set of terms and conditions.

Starting the process of selecting a contractor from scratch would, of course, mean delaying the project by at least another two months. The flyover, commissioned in January 2009, was to have been ready by 2012 but work didn’t start until 2010. A series of land-related hurdles and missed deadlines later, the government withdrew its contract with HCC last December.

The company had asked for a revised budget, citing cost escalation caused by the CMDA’s failure to hand over parts of the site. About 35 per cent of the 8.14km flyover, the longest in the city, remains to be built.

The CMDA had advertised the contract on December 10, fixing January 20 as the last date for submission of bids. Nobody bid.

A “second call” was published on Thursday in accordance with the stipulated terms of the tender. If there is still no bidder till 11am on Monday, the tender has to be floated again without any changes. Bids can be invited under revised terms and conditions only if nobody shows interest in the re-advertised contract.

“It is unlikely we will receive a response to the second call because there has been no change in the terms,” a source in the CMDA said.

A meeting held on January 8 to answer the queries of companies interested in the project had seen Larsen & Toubro, SP Singla Constructions, Simplex Infrastructures, Gammon, HCC and ITD— turn up to express their concerns.

“Many infrastructure projects in Bengal are stuck because contractors didn’t get possession of land even months after the projects were awarded to them. We want the CMDA to include a clause that if they fail to hand over the site for work within a specific period, we will have the right to seek compensation,” said an official of one of the participating companies.

A source in another infrastructure company said some of the CMDA’s terms were harsh. “It wants the new contractor to take responsibility for the structural stability of the flyover for five years after completion. Another contractor has done the majority of the work. We do not know about the quality of materials used. How can we be solely responsible for the next five years?” he said.

The interested companies have also raised objections to the proposed deposit of around Rs 5 crore as cash guarantee.

A CMDA official said some of these concerns would be addressed. “The project budget could be hiked too.”

The current tender notice pegs the estimated budget for the remainder of the flyover project at Rs 260 crore.