The corproators from the the Opposition parties in the BMC on Wednesday pulled up the BMC administration over the contract of elevated Tree walk in the Standing Committee meeting. The BJP, Congress and Samajwadi Party corporators have demanded site visits to Kamla Nehru park where the BMC is planning to construct an elevated Tree Walk for tourists. In the standing committee meeting on Wednesday, the opposition parties also raised questions on the tendering process of the Tree Walk project.
The BMC administration put forward a proposal to construct a one kilometre long Tree Walk in the jungle patch and the slope of Malabar Hill. Only one bidder has shown interest in the work so far and the firm is demanding 50 percent more money than the estimated cost for the construction of Tree walk. According to the proposal, the project will cost Rs.22.49 Cr. The construction will be completed in eight months and the firm will take up the maintenance work for five years. The BMC has finalised a contractor, HMV Associates, a company that has experience in constructing an elevated nature trails with tree canopy in Malaysia in 2019.
Questioning the tendering process, Ravi Raja, the Congress group leader, asked, "This is the first proposal in the last five years, where a contractor is seeking almost 50 percent more money than the estimated cost. Will BMC take help of helicopters to bring machinery and equipment? Why is so much money being given?"
Prabhakar Shinde, the BJP group leader in the BMC, said, "I believe there was no tendering process adopted. The tendering process was pre-planned. The administartion just called one bidder and gave the contract to him. We want to visit the construction site and would like to see how much risk there is for construction." Shinde also sought work details of the contractor.
Raees Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator said, "There are many issues which can't move ahead because of lack of funds. The administration should have spent money on the improvement of school and gardens instead."
While replying to the allegations of Corporators, Additional commissioner P Velarasu said " There is a risk in constructing the Tree Walk because the hill is fragile and the contractor will have to take care of the ecosystem. The steel prices have increased by 30 to 40 percent during the Covid period and special types of wood need be imported for the work and hence the construction cost is high" he added.
Eventually, the proposal was approved by the Standing Committee.
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