Financial Considerations

Project Sammaan remains a tale of two cities, with construction related activities continuing at a feverish pace for the Community Toilet facilities in Cuttack whereas matters for the same facility type in Bhubaneswar remaining stalled as we continue waiting for the Administrative Approval to be granted by the H&UD Department. Only once this approval is granted can the contracts with NBCC be signed, and the pre-construction activities commence.

Over the past few days, there has been some cause for optimism in regards to Bhubaneswar’s Community Toilets: the file has moved from the Finance (more…)

Construction Timelines & Cause for Concern

News that National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) has been identified as the contractor for all of the Project Sammaan facilities in both Bhubaneswar and Cuttack brought with it both an incredible sense of relief and a torrent of new work to accomplish all of the project’s required pre-construction activities prior to breaking ground on the first facilities.

I have written briefly in the past about these pre-construction efforts, but now that we have a contractor on-board we have shifted into the day-to-day planning that will be required to effectively, efficiently, and successfully pull off the construction of the 79 separate facilities in the initial phase of Project Sammaan. With all of the different organizations involved, and each with their own sets of needs and related challenges, the logistics of coordinating all individual efforts such that the collective goal of getting the facilities online as quickly as possible is (more…)

NBCC Awarded Contracts for Sammaan Facilities

The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) has been awarded the contract to construct all 26 Community Toilets and 21 of the 27 Public Toilets in Bhubaneswar as part of Project Sammaan. (The contract for the six remaining Public Toilets is still pending despite a qualified bidder, the Vinayak Agency, being identified through an open tender nearly six months ago). The motion to award NBCC the contracts for Cuttack’s 31 Community Toilets is expected to be passed this week, and the formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed soon thereafter.

NBCC is a massive Public Sector Unit headquartered in Delhi that takes on projects across India, as well as in overseas locations such as Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Yemen, and Turkey. The company’s services is broadly in three segments: Project Management Consultancy, Real Estate (more…)

Changes in Bhubaneswar

The project team received some very disheartening news in a recent meeting with senior government officials: funding for the Community Toilets in Bhubaneswar has been drastically reduced. This budget cut translates to the construction for 34 of the 60 planned facilities being delayed indefinitely.

The timing of this news was especially difficult for the team as the tender documents for the 60 planned facilities had just been finalized and the release of the notice inviting bids from interested contractors thought to be imminent. Given the 15 months of effort that involved the (more…)

Sammaan is looking for a Project Manager

We will soon be hiring a Project Management Company to overlook construction. We are thus looking for an experienced Project Manager to manage their efforts, to represent the project consortium to the government and to oversee the project overall. Please find below a detailed job description for the same, along with job requirements and eligibility criteria.

Project Sammaan_Project Manager_Job Description_4 June

Managing Sammaan

It has been nearly 4 months since I took over as project manager of Sammaan. The timing of this threw me head first into the hardware tendering process and this milestone has dominated a majority of my time until now, as we prepare for the release of the final pending tenders: the 60 community toilets in Bhubaneswar. This milestone should be achieved by the end of February if all goes as it is currently planned.


Updates from the Field

In Bhubaneswar, the month of January commenced with the Model Code of Conduct in place and the Elections due on 9th of January. This was followed by Urban Local Body (ULB) election on the 17th of January, 2014. The first half of the month was spent in all the administrative activities.  Most of the officials were deputed as Election officers. Nevertheless, the CMG meeting chaired by Development Commissioner gave a go ahead for the commencement of the construction work of public toilets and community toilets under Project Sammaan.


O&M Review

We recently conducted a review of various Operations and Maintenance (O&M) models, which we submitted to the government. The objective was to outline existing O&M models for communal sanitation facilities in India and highlight how the strengths and weaknesses of these models are informing Project Sammaan’s approach.

We studied cases on the Pune Model of NGO maintenance and Corporation-funded, NGO-managed construction, the case of management and part-funded construction by a community-based organization in the Kanpur slums, the Trichi model where the self-help groups trained by NGOs took over the maintenance of the Corporation’s existing toilets, and the case of Puri where community members took on the management of a toilet block constructed by an NGO.


Liaising and Capacity Building

The months of November-December were among the best months in terms of progress for the project. The public toilet tender notice was published in the leading dailies, definitely one of the major milestones achieved for the project. The tenders were opened and potential documents are currently under technical scrutiny. The project got a response from one bidder each for Package I and II and three bidders for package III. The Officials of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the officials of Government are deciding on the way forward for the single bid tenders.

While the major issue for these months has been Public toilet tender, CTRAN facilitated several meetings with the engineering section of the BMC in order to collect their inputs on the technical documents relevant to the release of the Community Toilet tender and accordingly proceed for the technical sanction. Meetings were fixed with the Mr. Mallick, Executive Engineer- Division I, to get the technical inputs and the formats in which the documents should be submitted.


Tendering Update

The tender process has been long, tedious, and frustrating, but has also provided incredible insights into working with the government in implementing a project as unique and with such a scale as Sammaan, and the end is in sight. Much has been written about the tender in both this monthly newsletter and the project blog, but it is certainly a milestone worthy of such attention.

The feelings of elation shared by many partners following the tender release of the Public Toilets in Bhubaneswar were short-lived as the focus shifted to the Community Toilets, particularly the sites in Cuttack. Unlike the process that brought about the PT tender release in Bhubaneswar and is being followed for the Community Toilets there, in which the facilities are split into separate batches with total costs below the 3 crore threshold that permits the city municipalities to provide technical sanction and, therefore, release the tender, the total tender package of 32 facilities for nearly 8 crore needs to be released in Cuttack.