The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on local bodies has unearthed that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had made excess payment for some road infrastructure projects. With this, the BBMP’s accountability has come under sharp scrutiny.

The CAG took up a performance audit of projects under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) and Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) implemented by the BBMP with funding from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) funds between 2005 and 2012.

Out of an expenditure of Rs. 707.10 crore incurred by the BBMP as of March 2012, an expenditure of Rs. 579.76 crore was test checked.

The report has pointed out that while the delay in the execution of road projects was attributed by BBMP to non-availability of land, the implementation of housing projects under BSUP was a failure as only four per cent of the dwelling units proposed have been completed within the mission period (2005-2012).

With the BBMP not renewing the bank guarantees of contractors on expiry, it was risking non-payment of dues. In 20 cases, the CAG stated that bank guarantees amounting to Rs. 34.52 crore were not renewed after their expiry.

The report has also pointed out that the physical progress achieved for the construction of CNR Rao Circle underpass, which was taken up in May 2008, was only 58 per cent as per the progress report of December 2012.

The project, which was to have been completed within 10 months, is still not completed as the “alignment of the underpass was faulty to such an extent that it was designed to pass through important installations/ buildings such as Indian Institute of Science, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. and BWSSB due to which they refused to grant land.”

The CAG has now recommended that accountability be fixed and enforced to inculcate financial discipline in handling project funds.

The BBMP has been asked to assess availability of land before taking up road infrastructure projects and have in place a clear strategy before housing projects are implemented to avoid inordinate delay in affording benefits to the poor and needy.

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