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…)

Tender Released in Cuttack

The Sammaan team ended the first month of 2014 by achieving another significant milestone: the tender for the 32 Community Toilets in Cuttack has been released! This ends a nearly year-long process that was fraught with various hurdles, but one that was also rich in learnings that will enrich the project’s toolkit and, hopefully, help other organizations working in the field avoid the same missteps and challenges that we encountered.


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.


New Project Manager

There has been an exciting new development with Project Sammaan. Siva Cotipalli has disengaged from the initiative due to other, more pressing professional considerations and I have taken over his responsibilities as project manager.

The change comes at a fairly critical juncture in Sammaan as we continue working towards the release of the tender for the Public Toilets in Bhubaneswar and securing the technical sanctions for the Community Toilets in both Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.


Census Completion!

The main field milestone in August has been the completion of the census data collection. As I write this update, the team is gearing up for what will be their last census field session. We follow a rule of a site-wide first-pass followed by two revisits for each unfinished household. Today the field team is preparing for a second revisit at the last remaining site.

With the completion of this last batch of 10 sites in Bhubaneswar, what has been nearly a 11-month long exercise draws to a close. In this time, we have, in total, surveyed 32 sites in Cuttack, and about a 100 sites in Bhubaneswar, covering over 20,000 households in Bhubaneswar and 7,000 households in Cuttack. The overall completion rates in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack stand at around 87% and 90%, respectively.


Tendering & Arkitechno

The tendering process for all building works remains the same whether it is roads, railways, or sanitation; the simple objective is to construct the infrastructure or facilities by a contractor.

As Project Management Consultants, Arkitechno evaluates the capabilities of the contractor and then supervises the work along with quality control, check-in measurements and payment certification.


Community Census

As part of Project Sammaan, J-PAL is studying how improved community sanitation models impact open defecation rates in urban slums in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. J-PAL is currently conducting large scale surveys in the communities Project Sammaan works in.

As a first step, J-PAL defines the communities using maps. Based on these maps the J-PAL’s survey team conducts a door to door census survey. This census survey provides the basis for a more in-depth baseline study.