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Pune Metro consultancy contract given without tendering

ksenia kondratieva Mumbai | Updated on August 12, 2018

An internal document of RITES, accessed by BusinessLine , dated March, 22, 2018, and signed by Ved Prakash, Group GM, states that RITES in association with three other companies has been awarded a two-year long GC contract for Pune Metro   -  Mandar Tannu

Systra wins assignment, but rivals irked

A consortium of four companies, led by France-based infrastructure consulting firm Systra, has been awarded the contract for General Consultant (GC) for Phase-1 of the Pune Metro Rail Project. But this has been done without the competitive bidding process, BusinessLine has learnt.

The ₹11,420-crore Pune Metro Phase-1 is being executed by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha Metro), a company jointly owned by the GoI and the Government of Maharashtra. In 2016, Maha Metro had replaced Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation (NMRCL) to oversee all ongoing and future metro projects in the State.

In June 2016, the consortium of Systra, US-based AECOM, Egis Rail (a part of France-headquartered Egis Group), and state-owned RITES was awarded the ₹221-crore GC contract for the first phase of the Nagpur metro project. The same consortium was awarded a contract for providing Interim Consultancy for the Pune project in 2017, an industry player who did not wish to be named said.

Later, in 2018, the same consortium was awarded the GC contract for the Pune metro worth about ₹300 crore. But this has irked some of the other contenders as the contract has allegedly been given without a formal tender being floated.

Records in e-tendering site

The e-tendering website of Maha Metro does not have any record of the Systra-led consortium being awarded any other tender other than the GC tender for Nagpur metro.

However, an internal document of RITES, accessed by BusinessLine, dated March, 22, 2018, and signed by Ved Prakash, Group GM, states that RITES in association with three other companies, has been awarded a two-year GC contract for the Pune Metro.

The top official at RITES confirmed to BusinessLine that the company was awarded the contract in consortium led by Systra. While the queries sent to Maha Metro multiple times did not elicit any response, a source close to Maha Metro confirmed the development.

Time-saving measure

“The idea behind having one corporation to execute projects was to be able to start projects across the State quickly as experience and expertise as well as management are already there. In the case of the Pune project, 20 per cent of works was completed in the first year itself which would not be possible if the tendering process for the GC had been started afresh,” the person said.

Systra, EGIS and Aecom did not comment on queries sent by BusinessLine.

A year ago, in an interview with Construction Week, Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director, Maha Metro, said: “With the Nagpur Metro, we had done quite a lot of the work for the bidding process before they (the Systra-led consortium) came on-board, and so as far as this consortium is concerned, the bidding process has been done by them to the extent of I think only about 40 per cent, the rest we did ourselves. But in the case of Pune Metro, we will put them on board right in the beginning so that the process is even faster than it was in Nagpur. Initially, certainly for the first year, we will have the same consortium at work in Pune.”

General norm

“As per the general requirement of awarding projects, especially in the infrastructure space, even small consultancy contracts are tendered. There is empanelment and a bidding processes is required even for small contracts,” said Radhika Sankaran, Partner and Practice Head, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan.

“Generally, if the contract signed is only related to the Nagpur project, it is unlikely that there could be extension of this contract for another project in another city. Yes, generally you may have the same RFP for all similar projects, but it doesn’t mean that you are not calling for fresh bids,” she added.

The GC’s scope of work generally includes overseeing the bidding process, including evaluating bids and, if necessary, awarding contracts, review of the detailed designs submitted by the contractors and supervision of the construction process.

Published on August 12, 2018

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