Srinagar: With the fourth extension on cards, the Srinagar Smart City project is struggling to even start. In the past two months, just a single firm has submitted its bid proposal to tenders floated by the Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created to execute Smart City Projects.
An official told Kashmir Reader that this cold response from firms to be Project Management Consultant (PMC) to design, develop, manage and implement Smart City Projects is being “fought” by extending deadlines.
During the past two months, the SSCL has extended deadlines thrice, in the hopes that companies may still come forward with bid proposals. Initially the last date for submission of bids was November 29, which later was extended by ten more days.
Later, after requests from a few firms that, officials said, had expressed interest in the project but asked for more time, the deadline was again extended till December 24. Another extended deadline is ending on January 6, and just one firm has submitted a proposal.
“A fourth extension is likely as officials want more companies for a healthy competition. Last month, three companies had expressed the desire to participate and had requested for more time, but they didn’t turn up since then,” said the official.
Chief Executive Officer, SSCL, Farooq Ahmad Lone says that the cold response to the tenders is because most of the firms that deal with such projects have already been engaged by other states where smart city projects are being implemented.
“Most of the firms are already engaged in other states which are covered under the smart city mission. Also, most firms want to avoid working in J&K due to the volatile situation here. Even Jammu city is struggling to contract out the project. One company has submitted bids and we are considering extending the last date for submission of proposal till January end, with the hope that a few more companies might turn up,” Lone said.
He said that if no one turns up even in the fourth extension, the project may be contracted out to the single company that has submitted its bid, provided that it meets all the pre-requisites.
“Though we are hopeful and expecting participation of few more companies, but if no one else comes forward, we have no option but to contract out the project to this firm,” Lone said.
Asked if the SSCL’s tenders were given sufficient publicity, he said the “tenders were given widespread publicity everywhere in the country”.
With a total capital cost of Rs 3,815.98 crore, the Smart City Mission is a Government of India-supported project wherein an amount of Rs 2,774 crore has been allocated for Area-Based Developments (ABD) and Rs 277 crore for a Pan City Proposal (PCP).
The project cost includes Rs 24.99 crore for Technical & Administration support expenses, such as survey and investigations, preparation of Draft Proposal Report (DPR), project management and supervision, etc.
The projects and sub-projects identified for ABD include Jhelum waterfront beautification; creation of pathways and cycle tracks along Bund Road; Improvement of Ghats along Jhelum; dredging and silt removal of Jhelum; water transport terminal – boats, shikaras, area illumination along riverbanks, embankments along riverbank; biodigestors/interceptors for sewage treatment; eco-STP for treatment of wastewater; and façade restoration of heritage buildings.