Ill-conceived, ill-planned projects, says CAG; We have done no wrong: Sheila Dikshit
The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India has indicted the Delhi government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and a few Delhi Ministers in its Performance Audit Report on Commonwealth Games-2010. The report is expected to be tabled in the ongoing Parliament session.
The report has held the Delhi government responsible for causing a loss of hundreds of crores by undertaking “ill-conceived and ill-planned” projects, selecting consultants in an “arbitrary and non-transparent manner” and executing contracts at “exorbitant” rates.
It also points to avoidable use of very expensive material in street-scaping and street lighting as a cause for the losses.
Ms. Dikshit, however, claimed that her government had “not done anything wrong” and that it acted only in the “national interest.” She said the government had delivered on the responsibilities entrusted to it.
In its section on “street-scaping and beautification of roads,” the CAG said while the government undertook the works to improve “aesthetics” before the Games, the project was “ill-conceived and ill-planned, without a broad overarching vision and perspective of how this would impact urban design and development.”
Contracts were given at exorbitant average costs of Rs. 4.8 crore/km and were “awarded and executed in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner,” leading to “waste of public funds totalling Rs.101.02 crore.” The consultants were also paid an exorbitant average cost of Rs. 12.5 lakh/km.
Further, “adoption of richer specifications in an arbitrary and inconsistent manner” led to an “avoidable cost of Rs. 51.33 crore.”
On modernisation of the street lighting system, the report said the project was executed on around 800 km of Delhi roads at a tendered cost of Rs.286 crore. “The decision on use of imported luminaries was taken with the approval of the CM” and “imported luminaries were procured at a far higher cost than the indigenous luminaries, leading to avoidable extra expenditure of Rs.31.07 crore.”
The CAG took seven of the 25 road and bridges projects for review and found that in all of them, the Contractor's Profit and Overhead Charges (CPOH) were 37.5 per cent against 15 per cent stipulated by the Central Public Works Department. This raised the justified cost of these projects by Rs. 352.47 crore.
On renovation of Connaught Place, which was incomplete at the time of the Games, the report said the original estimated cost of Rs.76 crore (as of May 2005) went up nearly nine-fold to Rs. 671 crore by July 2007, with a huge increase in scope of work.