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Guwahati Smart City Limited – A case of sour grape for L&T?

05 Nov,2020 06:00 PM, by: Super Admin
3 minute read Total views: 895
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National Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, with the mission to develop smart cities across the country, making them citizen friendly and sustainable.  The mission initially included 100 cities, of which Guwahati was one of them. In this context, Guwahati has incorporated a special purpose vehicle (SPV) – Guwahati Smart City Limited (GSCL) to plan, design, implement, coordinate and monitor the smart city projects in Guwahati. 

Although, a few tenders were floated in the past with regards to the execution of the Smart City projects in Guwahati, none of them made it to execution level due to lack of clarity and participation. Butrecently, a new tender was floated in public for execution of city surveillance system, traffic management system and for an overall command control to monitor speed violation, road safety, and all such essential features to make Guwahati city safe.

Three companies namely L&T, BECIL and AMTRON took part in the tender process.Based on the technical & financial bid evaluation, the project was awarded to BECIL, who participated in the bid in consortium with Trans Virtual Pvt. Ltd. This new development brings the Smart City development project up to speed.

However, shortly after the decision was takenonce the financial bid came in from all three contenders, an allegation was filed by L&T of foul play in the tender rewarding process, having lost the bid. This was an unlikely move as there seemed to be no objection raised during the technical bid submission; the first part of the tendering process.

Since the allegation was raised at the merits of the winning contender after the project was awarded (and not during the prior stages of the evaluation), we’re forced to wonder – is it really a case of foul play?

As per allegations made, BECIL had apparently not uploaded all the technical files online required for the tender. Although, it is partially correct, it needs to be mentioned that a formal request was granted by Guwahati Smart City Limited which allowed physical submission of technical details owing to the fact that uploading of entire files (exceeding more than 3000 pages) in the portal was quite difficult.  Therefore, despite not being able to upload all the technical files ‘online’, BECIL successfully submitted both hard and soft copies of the files physically to Guwahati Smart City Limited; rendering the former allegation void.

Ironically, L&T who challenged the decision of Guwahati Smart City Limited, seemed to lack local know-how, which was evident from their presentation, and also failed to provide proper technical details to support their eligibility. On the contrary, the presentation delivered by BECIL (in consortium with Trans V) was adequate enough to communicate their technical expertise which also consisted of all product details from Cisco, Bosch, Cross, Ingine (all leaders in their domain) along with a superior local know-how to execute the project.

It is also interesting to note that based on the financial bid submitted by all three contenders (L&T – 240Cr, AMTRON - 203 Cr and BECIL – 190Cr), BECIL made the lowest bid, and combined with the technical evaluation, they were the L1 bidders, thereby winning the project rightfully.

Adding on, this is a public tender which was opened in the presence of all stakeholders. Any instance of foul play could have been easily raised during the initial phase of the evaluation. Then why did L&T raise their voice after losing their bid of 240 Cr? This only leads to the conclusion that it was perhaps a case of ‘sour grapes’ rather than ‘sour play’.

On another note, we do wish for the successful implementation of the Smart City project. And its high time for big corporations like L&T to stop being corporate bullies and respect the merits of local entities in our nation. A successful company is not defined by its profit but for finding a win-win solution that would correspond with the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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