The Bombay High Court recently stayed the tender opening process initiated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to construct five toilet blocks and two garbage collection centers in BKC area of the city.
This comes after a private firm by name - M/s Fumes International petitioned the bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Madhav Jamdar, challenging the decision of the MMRDA to issue tenders for the said work.
The firm claims to be in the business of building toilet blocks and bathrooms that are used for public convenience at designated spaces approved by the local administration.
Accordingly, it was allotted 7 sites for construction and operation of 5 such toilets complexes and 2 garbage collection centers in BKC area, Mumbai on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis. It claimed to have been given this contract by the MMRDA for a period of 10 years.
Now the 10 years contracts have expired between 2018 and 2020. Thus, by a communication on September 5, 2018, the firm sought renewal of its contract.
To buttress their case, the firm relied on a particular clause of their contract with the MMRDA which provided for renewed of the contract for a further similar period (i.e. 10 years) on "mutually agreed terms and conditions, subject to satisfactory services."
Even after receiving the letter in September 2018, the MMRDA did not respond to the firm. In fact, it went on to float fresh tenders for the same work, as claimed by the firm, on January 13, 2021.
"The grievance of the firm is that the tenders invited for the work, includes 5 toilet complexes and 2 garbage collection centers which were allotted to it," the bench noted.
"The firm has not been called upon, despite its letters of September 5 and 10, 2018, to decide the mutual terxms and conditions and the MMRDA has straight away floated the tender," the bench noted further.
During the course of the hearing, the bench was informed that the tenders are yet to be opened.
"Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, by way of ad-interim order, we direct that though the bids may be accepted, the bids shall not be opened till the next date," Justice Sayed said in his orders, while granting liberty to the firm to submit its bid and also to meet the MMRDA chief and decide the further course.
Matter would be next heard on February 23.