BMC rejects all nine bids from facilitator firms

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday rejected all the nine bids it had received for procurement of one crore vaccine doses for the people of Mumbai.

The bids were rejected after the bidders failed to submit relevant documents to prove authenticity and clearly show any link between them and vaccine manufacturers.

The civic body has now initiated talks with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories – Indian partner for the manufacture of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine – which has assured to provide 50,000 doses on a trial basis by the end of June. So far, over 32 lakh people have been vaccinated in Mumbai.

Civic officials, who were involved in the procurement of jabs by floating a global Expression of Interest (EOI) process, said that in the last three days, none of the nine bidders – all facilitator firms that had claimed tie-ups with manufacturers – managed to submit crucial documents like agreements and authorisation letters from vaccine manufacturers.

“We have scrutinised the documents submitted by the bidders. They were given time to submit relevant documents to prove their link to the manufacturers. However, all nine failed to provide these documents and now their bids stand ineligible,” said P Velrasu, Additional Municipal Commissioner and in charge of vaccine procurement.

The BMC’s talks with Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s have yielded some positive results, as the pharmaceutical firm has agreed to supply about 50,000 doses on a trial basis this month. On Friday, Velrasu interacted with Dr Reddy’s representatives via a video conference and discussed if bulk supplies can be made in July and August as well.

“We are in talks with Dr Reddy’s for procurement of bulk quantities of vaccines in the next couple of months. They have not committed anything as of now. We will hold another discussion with them after a week,” said Velrasu.

With Sputnik V requiring a storage temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius, BMC officials said the cold chain facility at Kanjurmarg can be utilised for storing the vaccines. “When we receive Sputnik V jabs for trial, we will make arrangements for its storage,” said an official.

On May 12, BMC had floated a global EOI for procurement of one crore vaccines. After twice extending the deadline for submission of bids, in the last two weeks, the civic body had received 10 bids from facilitators for the supply Sputnik V, Sputnik V Light, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

However, one firm from Romania, claiming to supply Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, had backed out after Pfizer denied authorising any company to distribute its vaccine.

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