21October2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Garden of Eden – 1

You need to have an imagination for what I am about to reveal, something you undoubtedly have.  You just got to have it in Goa.  Visualize just how little it would take to renovate a garden of 570 sq m.  Then imagine, your government is currently spending Rs 1,59,68,204.24 to renovate it because of the Panjim MLA Manohar Parrikar(now Chief Minister).  That’s a steep Rs 28,014 per sq. mt. 

Now after this colossal figure was conjured and configured, the imagination of the government planners this time went into overdrive.  For those who live deep in the south or up north, the garden is at Rua De Ourem, at Panjim’s old entrance and exit road.  This once popular area of Panjim is now used by pedestrians to exit and enter the KTC bus stand. Little else!

 

This is how the garden deal took root. On 24 April 2008 the scheduled date of opening the tender, there were no responses for the first call though two bidders, one from Mumbai; bought tenders forms. They were My Associates of Andheri (W) Mumbai and Bhella Constuctions of Ponda. At the next call, two bidders purchased the tender forms: My Associates (again) and A. Ponnuraj of Panjim. Now, why on earth would My Associates try a second time when it refused to bid the first time despite buying the tender forms?

 

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

On 5 May 2008 the scheduled day of the second call, A. Ponnuraj was disqualified as his EMD (earnest money deposit) was not submitted as per rules. Surprise, surprise! We have here an experienced contractor (the rule states a contractor must have completed pre-specified high-worth jobs in the last 5 yrs) who is incapable of completing a mere EMD formality! This time however My Associates after appearing to be reluctant the first time, quoted Rs 2,00,63,649.50. The figure was cut down 2.5 per cent by the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) to Rs 1,95,62,058. It was however still 68.48 per cent higher than the GSIDC estimated cost of Rs 1,16,10,674 and 39.24 per cent above the reasonable (GSIDC again) amount of Rs 1,40,48,719.97. If you have not comprehended this jargon, estimated cost is what the GSIDC figures is the estimated cost as per market calculations. Reasonable cost, I guess is, if the contractor is unreasonable enough to quote above the estimated, it requires GSIDC to be reasonable and make unreasonable look reasonable. As a result, My Associates' bid was rejected because it was too high.

 

Beyond The Call of Duty

Now, this is where your imagination gets stretched like India rubber. In response to the third call, A. Ponnuraj made a second comeback. This time however K.G Thomas of Panjim and New Park Sun Gardens of Mahim, Mumbai join in the fun and games. But on the scheduled day of the opening 28 May 2008, mysteriously only K.G Thomas bids. Does this not stretch your imagination? You have Mumbai’s My Associates who drops by twice (1st & 2nd call) but does not bid the first time. The second time, it bids so high, it is bound to be rejected. Then you have A. Ponnuraj who buys the tender forms twice (2nd & 3rd call) makes a silly (tactical perhaps?) error the first call, then does not bid at the 3rd call. You would think Ponnuraj would want to make amends. No? Finally, you have New Park Sun Gardens from Mumbai who suddenly enters the field at the fag end (3rd call) but does not bid. Not to mention Bhella Constructions, who apparently didn’t want to play ball at all.

 

The Games Begin

The tactical maneuvering done, K.G Thomas waltzes into the scene, and there’s a treasure chest to be dug out of the garden. The only bidder left now is him.  He bids Rs 1,72,62,923.50, then agrees to negotiate his quote despite being the only bidder left in the arena.  Blows my mind away!  So, he reduces his bid by 7.5 per cent and his quote is now Rs 1,59,68,204.24.  The negotiated offer is 9.94 per cent above the reasonable (subsequently hiked) estimate of Rs 1,45,24,697.48 and 37.53 per cent above the estimated cost put to tender, that is Rs 1,16,10,674.  This makes GSIDC really pleased with itself because it promptly claims the offer made in the third call is Rs 35,93,854 (Rs 1,95,62,058 minus Rs 1,59,68,204) lesser than the offer it received in the second call.  Do make a note also that GSIDC’s reasonable estimate has by now grown from Rs 1,40,48,719.97 to Rs 1,45,24,697.48.  It doesn’t end here.

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