Original project cost estimate revised within two years: CAG

Two fresh preliminary enquiries against unknown officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council have been registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged irregularities in the projects for beatification of Connaught Place and street-lighting in the area falling under its jurisdiction for the Commonwealth Games-2010.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had in its report pointed out that the original cost estimate for the project to renovate and restore Connaught Place was Rs.76 crore in May 2005. However, the estimated cost was revised to a whopping Rs.671 crore within two years. “The original estimated cost went up nearly nine-fold,” it said, stating that the project was plagued by undue delays. “The decision to initiate action was taken in April 2004, but the Detailed Project Report was submitted only in February 2008.”

The report said that the undue delay in execution of the project was indicative of the poor planning of the NDMC.

“In case of civil, electrical and finishing works for service corridor in Middle Circle, the single tenderer initially quoted a rate of Rs.270.71 crore against a departmental estimate of Rs.207.41 crore i.e. 30.59 per cent above the estimated costs. To bring the quoted rates to acceptable level so that a single tender can be accepted post-tender reductions of Rs.33.99 crore were made,” it pointed out.

The report found several other instances of incorrect rate analysis and cost inflations, including the work of renovation and construction of subways, in which the single tender initially quoted a rate of Rs.56.80 crore against departmental estimate of Rs.47.51 crore.

However, after the tendering process was over, the department revised the estimate of Rs.51.51 crore by taking into consideration the salvage value of the dismantled material.

The CAG report highlighted extra cost incurred on use of granite as flooring material in restoration of the façade of C-Block of Connaught Place. It also gave adverse findings on street-lighting project undertaken in the NDMC area for the Games.

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