Two and half years after Ajmer city was included in the ambitious Smart City Mission, Ajmer Smart City Ltd. (ASCL), an SPV created by the government to drive the implementation of the smart city programme, has managed to complete only three of the 86 projects planned.
Ajmer is one of the four cities in Rajasthan identified under the Smart City Mission overseen by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and closely monitored by the PMO. Out of the total outlay of Rs. 7,025 crore for the four smart cities in Rajasthan, Ajmer is entitled to Rs. 1,947 crore financing for the 86 projects.
Till date, however, only three projects worth Rs. 3.82 crore have been completed, according to ASCL officials. Another 26 with a total project cost of Rs. 381 crore are under execution and eight projects with total cost of Rs. 61.7 crore are currently under tendering process.
ASCL has been struggling to appoint a project management consultant (PMC) that would monitor and evaluate the projects, coordinate the tendering and handle finance and procurement as two PMC tenders have already been cancelled.
Last month, ASCL floated a third tender for PMC with bids scheduled to be opened on April 4 and the tender process is likely to be concluded in May.
The first tender worth around Rs. 22 crore was given to a Spanish company Eptisa Servicios de Ingiieria in 2017. However, six month later Eptisa’s contract wasterminated. The same company is executing two other PMC contracts in Rajasthan - for Jaipur and Udaipur cities, according to Rajasthan Urban Drinking Water Sewerage and Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (Rudsico) website.
A fresh PMC tender was floated in the second half of 2017 in which several industry majors participated, including the French Aegis, the US-headquartered Aecom and Louis Berger, among others, industry sources told BusinessLine .
Loius Berger’s protest
While no official records on the second tender are available on the Ajmer Municipal Corporation website, a letter from Louis Berger India addressed to CEO of ASCL dated December, 21, 2018, a copy of which has been accessed byBusinessLine , states the company was selected as a winning bidder in November 2017.
However, on December, 20, 2018, ASCL informed it of the cancellation of the PMC tender, the letter says.
“The tender was most likely cancelled by ASCL due to Louis Berger’s refusal to accept the counter-offer extended by the ASCL,” Louis Berger said in its letter. “Cancelling the tender on this pretext is therefore outrageous,” it added.
When asked about cancellation of the second tender, ASCL officials said in an emailed response that it “was cancelled at the level of the government.”
Queries sent to Public Works Department of the Government of Rajasthan did not elicit any response. Louis Berger has declined to comment for this story.
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