The government decided to re-evaluate the bidding under its procurement rules for awarding contracts to develop and maintain a plant for a daily supply of 500 million litres of treated water from the Meghna River to the city dwellers.
The decision came on Thursday in the wake of a dispute over awarding the contracts to a single bidder which quoted approximately 51 per cent higher than the government’s estimate for the job, said officials.
On November 16, 2016, a week before the deadline, the project implementing agency, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, declined to open the financial proposal of one of the two shortlisted bidders arguing that the company was ‘technically non-responsive,’ said officials.
The company had quoted Tk 1,800 crore for the two contracts, said officials.On receipt of clearance from the major lending agency, the Asian Development Bank, the authority kept Degremont-OTV joint venture as the lone bidder for tender evaluation, they said.
The company demanded Tk 3,175 crore, 51 per cent higher than the government’s estimated cost.
On Thursday, the local government division issued a letter with notification of forming a four-member committee headed by the chief engineer of the local government engineering division to re-evaluate the two offers of the shortlisted companies in line with the Public Procurement Rules 2008, officials said.
The committee was asked to submit its re-evaluation report to the ministry, in seven days according to the terms of reference set out for the committee.
On December 7, 2016, a review panel of the government’s Central Procurement Unit, however, asked the water supply authority to re-evaluate the two technical proposals by an independent committee of at least three members, including two renowned experts, said officials.
But most of the committee members have been chosen from the project which was a breach of verdict given by the review committee, they said.
The project director has been appointed as the member secretary of the committee while the other two members have been appointed from the department of public health engineering and local government division.
The CPTU’s review panel also asked the water supply authority to consider the financial proposal of Wabag-Technicas before awarding the contracts.
In response, the bank threatened to pull out from funding along with other lenders if the authorities consider the financial proposal Wabag-Technicas
and not award both the contracts to the single bidder.
In an email to the authority, the bank also said that its decision was irrevocable as the government had agreed to follow its procurement guidelines overruling the public procurement rules, for the projects it funds in the country.
On November 24, 2016, the authority opened the financial proposal of the only bidder, Degremont-OTV joint venture, they said.
The allegations of irregularities were raised against top officials when British consultation company – Mott MacDonald – declared seven of the nine interested companies non-responsive citing grounds that the companies did not comply with the technical specifications, on September 25, 2015.
The total project cost was estimated at $675m (Tk 5,248 crore), of which ADB would finance $250m, Agencies Franchise De Development, $100m, European Investment Bank, $100m, and the government would finance, $225m.
The project has been planned to taken to meet the demand of water, reduce dependence on ground water and increase the use of surface water.
The government plans to complete the project in three years after the awards of the contracts.
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