Mumbai's wait for a much-delayed CCTV-based surveillance system may get a little longer with the state government deciding to extend the deadline for the submission of the bids for around Rs1,000 crore project due to lack of response from potential bidders.
The CCTV project was initiated after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and the high-level enquiry committee headed by former union home secretary Ram Pradhan, which probed the attacks, had also touched the issue.
It plans to install around 6,000 CCTV cameras across 1,500 identified locations with an average of 14 cameras per sq km. The project will also include 12 patrolling vans with mounted cameras and 1,000 police vans with GPS.
In November 2013, which saw the fifth anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, the state government invited Request for Proposals (RFP) to design, implement and operate a state-of-the-art, internet protocol-based CCTV surveillance system. It also held a pre-bid meeting.
The first attempt by the state to award the project hit a dead end after one of the companies in the consortium which had successfully bid for it was blacklisted. In the second attempt, the selected bidder faced a financial crunch and failed to deposit the bank guarantee.
"While 38 bid documents were taken, we did not receive any bids by February 13, which was the last date for submission. Hence, we extended the duration to February 24," said a state government source. He said one reason for the poor response could be the stringent conditions laid down in the tender.
The official said the tender consisted of conditions like the companies having a net profit of Rs100 crore for three years. "The IT industry has been in a bad shape in the past few years," said the official, adding that hence, it was necessary for the condition to be diluted.
"Otherwise, that leaves only the big players in the fray... but many multinational firms have been dithering in submitting their bids," the officials said, adding that some IT majors were seeking that they get a mobilisation advance for the project. According to the conditions, the successful bidder will get 20 per cent of the cost of the project if it goes live in 52 months and the companies have been seeking the extension to 62 months and the increase in the amount to 40 per cent. The remaining amount will be paid in phases over the next five years. The source said that the potential bidders had sought over 880 pre-bid clarifications and added that the project would be challenging considering the extent of work and amount of digging of roads required. The source further added that some potential bidders had also sought a "mobilisation advance" if the project were to be successfully awarded to them.
The work on installing 1,285 CCTV cameras in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad has already been awarded.
Incidentally, the Pradhan report had pointed out that the Mumbai city police had no ready access to the CCTV cameras mounted in private premises including hotels. These had to be requisitioned legally if need be. However, the police force in places like New York have ready access to these cameras.