The ambitious project of digitally mapping properties and underground utilities in the city has taken a major hit. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which had undertaken the project, has now cancelled tenders that were invited for conducting field surveys to collect data for the project.
The project, which involves the comparison of data collected through field surveys with existing records and data procured using global positioning system (GPS), is aimed at creating an integrated digital base map for Mumbai. The civic body has proposed to use this map as a reference for the city’s future development.
However, the project has now suffered a major setback as the tenders for conducting field survey, which were floated in January this year, have been cancelled after the lowest bid received was found to be way higher than the estimated cost.
“For the tenders to survey above ground properties and structures, the lowest bid quoted was Rs240 crore, whereas the estimated price is only Rs32 crore,” said joint municipal commissioner SS Shinde.
“Similarly, for surveys of underground utilities, the bids received were way higher than the estimated cost.”
Senior officials from the corporation revealed that five parties had bid for the above ground project, while there were three bids for mapping the underground utilities.
Calling for the fresh tenders now means delaying the project, which was originally conceptualized four years ago. The BMC has only succeeded in preparing a base maps so far, with the National Informatic Centre (NIC) helping the civic body take 3D images and low-angle photographs of structures on the surface. The data was handed over last year by NIC to the BMC.
Also, the cash-strapped civic body has decided to dilute the original project plan to rein in the cost. A senior BMC official said the civic body had been decided to modify the data requirements as it will reduce the survey size and cut costs. There is a high possibility that the new tenders for underground mapping may be held back, added senior officials from the BMC. The confirmed that the civic body might take up the mapping of utilities at a later date.
The BMC, however, is keen to complete the mapping of properties as soon as possible because it is crucial for the revision in property tax regime. The civic body has plans to switch over from the presently used rateable value model - property tax is levied on the basis of assessment of the rent they would fetch at the time of purchase - to a capital value model. As per the capital value model, properties will be rated on market value and other user factors.