For fast tracking of decisions, and qualititive transparent contract works the conventional Least cost selection method for tendering and procurement needs to be revisited with relaxed technicl and financial bid parameters.

Union Minister for Road transport and Highways Mr Nitin Gadkari while inaugurating a day long  a day-long seminar on “Goodbye L1 – A Route to Sustainable Engineering Development’’, being organized as part of the World Engineering Day celebrations said ” Changed tendering system will help competent players ,whether big or small get opportunity as well reduce cost and improve quality . L1 system may not be the most appropriate and capable method of delivering the results commensurate with the high growth trajectory of development envisioned for the country and it needs to be done away with help of changing perception of public” .

About 200 professionals including consulting engineers, stakeholders in government, policy makers  and representatives of construction and infrastructure firms  are taking part in a day-long seminar on “Goodbye L1 – A Route to Sustainable Engineering Development’’, being organized as part of the World Engineering Day celebrations in New Delhi jointly orgnaised by the Cosnulting Engineers Association of India (CEAI), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) with support of NITI Aayog .

“There is a need to relax technical and financial qualification for projects, including tunnels, to provide opportunity to small players also, as it has been seen that big players after getting the contract assign the same to small players who in absence of stringent parameters are unable to bid for the project,” Mr Gadkari  said.

At the same time, he added that a policy will be put in place soon for project consultancy management as faulty detailed project reports (DPRs) had caused much damage to the highways sector.

He said national highways accounted for 40 per cent of the total 5 lakh accidents in India per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die and defective DPRs are one of the major reasons for faulty road designs. About strategic Zojila tunnel, he said its price will not increase.” The age old L1 tendering system for Government and PSu procurements  has it’s own limitations  and the entire procurement process needs to be changed with public support. The L1 system of procurement and tendering systems affects all including research and defence bodies .For changing age old procurement system public perception has to be changed first as doing away with the sytem can lead to coruption charges .Niti Aayog will soon be drafting  a cabinet note taking cue from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) recommendations on change of tendering system” said Mr rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, while speaking on the occassion 

“L1 Method may not be the most appropriate and suitable method of awarding a Contract.. It is well founded that the current Contract tendering system by government and public undertakings based on Least Cost Selection method has shortcomings given the number of infrastructure and other projects facing concerns of delay,  quality and disputes, ultimately leading to time consuming arbitration and higher costs” Said Mr K K Kapila, Past President and Chairman of CEAI’s Infrastructure Committee and Former Executive Committee Member of The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

 ’The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), as an Institution has been deeply interested in the processes used in selection of contractors for different kinds of works since the outcome and completion of contracts reflect ultimately on the design and supervision effort of the engineers. FIDIC has been advocating appropriate methodology of selection of Contractors and Consultants to ensure that the Client gets optimal value for his investment along with assured quality and timely completion of projects“Mr Kapila said .

 In September 2017, FIDIC came out with the document on Proposed Alternative Mechanisms to Award Construction Works Contracts based on ‘’Lowest Workable Cost’’, rather than the ‘’Least Cost” approach. In this work, FIDIC had recommended following three approaches, keeping in view the aspects of quality, cost and timelines.  Lowest Workable Cost Approach (this approach is to identify an appropriate bidder with reasonable cost) Cost and Quality Approach (weightage of technical and cost score applied) Selection based on Quality Approach (selection based on highest technical score)

  “Depending upon the complexity of the project and as is felt suitable to the nation concerned, FIDIC recommends that the Employer can adopt any of the above approaches which is intended towards promoting innovation, quality and adherence to timelines for completion of the works.” Mr Kapila added.

Some of the eminent speakers expected to join the seminar include Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan, Secretary (RT&H), Mr. A.K. Ghosh, JS Highways, Mr. Azad Ali, L&T ECC, Mr. Sunil Mishra, DG, IEEMA, Mr. Arun Mohan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Mr. Sudanshu Pandey, Additional Secretary (MOC&I), Mr. Shailendra Singh, CTO, CVC Mr. R. K. Pandey, Member (Projects), NHAI, Dr. S. K. Saha, Advisor, NITI Aayog, Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Ministry of Finance.