A Need for Clarity & Access

The possibility of a Public Sector Unit (PSU) being awarded the contracts for constructing the Sammaan facilities on a nomination basis was greeted with great excitement, support, and an overwhelming sense of relief; after a year-and-a-half of false starts and setbacks, it was beginning to look like the tendering process was finally over. That positive outlook has been tempered quite a bit over the past two months as the decision on a PSU’s nomination remains pending, leaving the team in an extended state of limbo and uncertain as to what steps can be taken to expedite the review.

Much of this uncertainty lies in the lack of clarity regarding what is entailed in the review process currently under way with various representatives at the H&UD, Finance, and Public Health Departments. We simply don’t know what the protocols are, who is responsible for each step, and what the timelines associated with each are. Ultimately, the team finds itself in a position of having to be reactive, to wait for requests from the various (more…)

Bridging the Gap

Project Sammaan is a highly innovative and demanding project, and one of the major concerns involves dealing with government policies and process. As one of the Interface Managers, my major responsibilities revolve around acting as a bridge between the Project Sammaan team and the government partners. I am also responsible for weighing in on decisions, both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimised for the project.

My day-to-day activities include risk assessment, representing the project’s interests, enhancing relationships between the government and non-government partners, and maintaining (more…)

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.


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.


Interface Management & Tendering

With all the strategies and efforts put together, Project Samman achieved another milestone with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) releasing the notice inviting tender for construction of public toilets in the city. This was a reason worth celebrating after a heavy task of liaising with multiple stakeholders including the technical team, Commissioner, Development Commissioner and members of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA). Communication and discussion with multiple stakeholders led to the guidelines according to which the city engineer floated the tender call successfully.

While tender floating was successfully accomplished in BMC, Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) is abuzz with activities to pitch for successful call for tenders to construct the community toilets. Further to the administrative sanction procured in the month of July, the Housing and Urban Department (H&UD) allotted funds.


Workstream Activities: Week of 11/18/13

Last week we were able to get the Public Toilet tender released in Bhubaneswar which allowed us to shift the focus to the Community Toilets in both pilot cities. The municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack require an incredible amount of documentation to push the tender process forward: over 2,500 pages of materials were submitted to the CMC and nearly double that amount will be submitted to the BMC this week. (We’ve assembled individual booklets for each of the 92 Community Toilets across both cities; Arkitechno has taken the lead in this with a lot of support coming from Anagram Architects).
The CMC engineering department is literally signing off on every single page of these booklets before sending them to the Chief Engineer based here in Bhubaneswar. Once the Chief Engineer reviews and approves these, we will get the technical sanction and, according to the Cuttack City Engineer, the tender will immediately be released.

Workstream Activities: Week of 11/11/13

When we first launched this blog, we provided weekly recaps of project-related activities in a series of posts called “Week That Was”. The thinking behind this type of reportage was two-fold: to provide a running, real-time catalogue of events as they happen and to be as transparent as possible in sharing our work as it unfolds.

We shifted away from this type of writing in the interest of sharing more thoughtful, reflective pieces about learnings from the project and individual partner experiences with it. However, given the call for greater communication from all of the partners, we’re reinstating these updates. The hope is that it will augment the experience for visitor’s to this site such that all audiences, from casual observers to invested project stakeholders, will glean deeper and richer knowledge about the Sammaan initiative.


Liaising & Capacity Building

The month of August involved several liaisoning activities. Monthly review meetings helped the team assess the progress of the project in the government wings for both Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC). August also saw enforcement of the Model code of Conduct in 91 ULBs, though BMC and CMC were exempted. A series of discussions and successive decisions in the Government wing helped to lay down strategies for faster and smoother execution of the project, including deciding on the contractor for construction of the 27 Public Toilets in Bhubaneswar.

In the Cuttack Municipal Corporation preparation for submission and approval of the Detailed Project report and other relevant documents for transfer of Government allocated funds was the major activity in August. The Engineering wing provided the Project Sammaan team with several inputs on packaging and technical parameters as per the norms of the Government for the tender. Strategic plans were also developed to ensure that the work orders are issued before the enforcement of the model code of conduct in Cuttack.


July Recap

The month of July was phenomenal for both strategic planning and milestone achievement!

Among these milestones was the procurement of administrative approval from the Government of Odisha by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, which was routed through the Housing and Urban Development Department. The administrative approval from the government was the final authentication on the estimates of the public sanitation facilities. This also supported a step ahead in the project by initiating the tendering process. The format of the tender document has been pushed to the Engineering team for final scrutiny.