Sources said some of the panel’s MPs reported whether government estimates for the projects were inflated or if uncontrollable players were flooding the bidding process. Officials said in some cases more than two dozen players bid on each project, which is unusual.
“One of the reasons is that the government has relaxed the bidding standards to increase the basket of eligible bidders and even the provision of an additional bank guarantee or a performance guarantee for those offering prices. abnormally low for work has been removed. Another reason for more offers could also be because there is less work in other sectors, ”said an official.
The relaxation for performance safety was done under the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat program in November last year. “Now this is becoming a concern. But the decision has to be made by the finance ministry, ”said another official.
However, NHAI President SS Sandhu said that after the projects are awarded, NHAI will not compromise on the quality and pace of project delivery. “We have made monthly video recording of work using drones mandatory for all new contracts and that will be a game-changer. Neither the entrepreneur nor our own officials can influence the reality on the ground. Everyone in the chain will be held accountable for their actions and performance, ”Sandhu told TOI.
He added that the highway authority has also undertaken strict quality control of the works. “We took action against highway builders and consultants when they were held responsible for poor quality work. Each reputable entity will do a good job, ”said Sandhu.
The NHAI has started to delegate independent teams from its headquarters to carry out frequent quality checks of work on project sites that private actors have bagged, citing “abnormally low bids”. He implemented a system of random quality checks, once every 2-3 months, during the construction period.