Mumbai: After 15 months of finalising the contract, the BMC can now carry out the work on the Oshiwara-Walbhat river rejuvenation project. The delay has, however, resulted in cost escalation to Rs 975 crore from its original estimate of Rs 637 crore.
The National Green Tribunal had ordered the BMC to take up steps to rejuvenatethe rivers in Mumbai. Accordingly, a project was undertaken by the civic body to rejuvenate Oshiwara-Walbhat, Poisar and Dahisar rivers. The BMC started the tendering process in 2019 at the estimated cost of Rs466 crore for the Oshiwara river.
Why was the project delayed?
The project was delayed and witnessed cost escalation due to Covid-19. The BMC then revised its upward estimated cost of Rs637 crore in 2021, when the joint venture of the lowest bidder, Shapoorji Pallonji-Konark, sought time to submit the required documents. However, the civic body refuted the request and gave preference to the second lowest bidder, Eagle-Mahalasa (JV).
The first bidder challenged the BMC’s decision and the Bombay High Court directed the BMC to grant an extension to the first bidder to submit its documents. Then the civic body further challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Eagle-Mahalasa (JV) has expressed its inability to work on the rates mentioned in the tender due to an increase in material costs. During this period, Shapoorji Pallonji-Konark submitted the required documents and the BMC finally chose it over the second bidder. This month, the proposal was submitted before BMC administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal for final approval.
“Treated water will be discharged into rivers. Contractors will also be responsible for the maintenance of the project's sewage treatment plants for 15 years. It will now cost Rs975 crore and is expected to complete in 36 months,” said an official from the BMC stormwater drain department.
The 7.31km long Walbhut river originates at Aarey Colony Hill and joins Oshiwara river after the Western Express Highway and empties at Malad creek. At least 12 city nullahs discharge into the Oshiwara river.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)