Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL) has recently held a number of pre-bid meetings for the tenders floated through video conferencing. The invitations were sent to the bidders through email. While 18 bidders attended the meeting for Joka Metro coach depot, there were six bidders in the meeting for the Majerhat-Mominpore Metro section. Seven bidders attended the meeting for the City Centre II-Airport Metro section, said an RVNL source.
The meetings on a digital platform ensured the process went on at a fast pace. The first pre-bid conference was held on May 27 for the main tender for Joka maintenance, worth Rs 372 crore. The tender will be opened on July 15. For the City Centre II-airport section, the pre-bid conference was held on July 1. The project, worth Rs 246.9 crore, will be open on July 31.
The use of video conferencing for pre-bid meetings has led to 100% rise in the number of participants, as well as huge savings in terms of time and cost. Such pre-bid meetings earlier involved a lot of travel from different parts of the country, hotel stay and other miscellaneous expenditure, which naturally got incorporated into the project cost. The digital pre-bid meeting paved the way for sessions where resources can be optimally managed with complete transparency.
Encouraged by the result, RVNL has decided to go completely digital for biddings to restart projects without any delay. The pre-bid meeting, which is important for a project like Metro, was typically a physical meeting where interested bidders gathered to know the scope of the job. But in the Covid-19 situation, such meetings not only involve a high risk, but get very poor attendance.
Because of long-standing land issues in the city, a majority of the Metro projects have overshot their project duration. Most of the contracts thus turned invalid with the exit of the contractors. This necessitated fresh tender floating.
With most of the Metro projects languishing in uncertainty for numerous reasons, the Railway Board has renewed its focus on the completion of pending Metro projects in the city. Apart from fast-track approval of material modification of the projects, which used to be changed at the last moment, during the execution, mainly due to land issues, the government also approved the revised project costs for giving the go-ahead for the projects.