The CAG report on the Delhi Government’s target to construct a whopping 4 lakh low-cost housing units under Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) programme reveals how ill-prepared and ill-suited government agencies are to address the city’s housing woes. Flawed tendering processes, delays in identifying land and starting construction, and cost overruns due to completion lags are just some of the defects that the auditor has red-flagged.
From the ambitious 4 lakh homes dream, the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee under the JNNURM sanctioned only 1.1 lakh dwelling units until March 2012. The plan shrunk further when 44,720 units were dropped due to failure to ensure land sites without various hindrances and only 85 out of the completed 10,684 dwelling units were allotted to the beneficiaries.
The scale-down continued as the work for 20,340 units was yet to be awarded by March 31, 2012. Another project for 1,200 units was dropped due to the delay on the part of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to finalise the tender. The construction of 9,780 units was abandoned mid-way due to non-observation of national building code norms by DUSIB.
For all its ambitious plans, the Delhi Government had only 10,684 completed units to showcase to the CAG. But the report does not indicate if allotments have been made on these units. The construction of 23,860 units “was in progress” but the CAG report does not indicate what level of progress the construction has reached. The CAG also noted that DUSIB had not completed a single unit between April 2011 and March 2012 despite incurring a cost of Rs.74.2 crore on various projects.
The DUSIB, which had eight approved projects to construct 24,076 units at a total cost of Rs.1,102 crore, came in for a special rap from the CAG. After dropping 5,872 units, the DUSIB had managed to complete only 1,024 units. Though these were completed in December 2011, water supply for domestic use was not made available even by May 2012.
The CAG noted that though DUSIB was named the nodal agency for allotting dwelling units constructed under JNNURM to the urban poor, it had “neither adequate manpower nor expertise/mechanism to carry out this herculean task”. The auditor said the DUSIB had not started the process to identify urban poor, except those residing in slums indentified for redevelopment. No separate account was maintained by DUSIB for crediting funds meant for this project coming from land-owning agencies and beneficiaries despite a State Government directive in this regard.
The CAG also faulted the Delhi Government for assigning the projects under BSUP and the work of allotment of dwelling units to DUSIB without keeping in view the “capacity and capability” of DUSIB which suffered from several deficiencies.
Another implementing agency, DSIIDC (Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation), was tasked with 14 projects to build 81,528 units at a cost of Rs.3,007.34 crore. But 40,048 were dropped and only 9,660 units have been completed. The CAG slammed DSIIDC for not retendering a project where only one bidder came forward and proposed almost double the estimated cost put to tender.