The ‘executive summary' of the Shunglu Committee's report on ‘city infrastructure' has stated that being a signatory to the Host City Agreement, the Delhi government in 2003 was obligated to improve road transport infrastructure to ease traffic congestion in the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2010.
But there was a period of inactivity from the end of 2003 to the end of 2006, and “this delay, intended or otherwise, compromised every subsequent stage of planning and execution.”
“The works taken up included elevated roads, flyovers, street lighting, street-scaping, bus parking areas and bus queue shelters. However, there does not seem to have been any plan for the construction of 74 flyovers,” the report said.
While the high-level committee (HLC) identified 52 city infrastructure and Games infrastructure projects executed by the Delhi government, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation in all — at a cost of Rs.7,156 crore — the HLC selected only 19 projects for detailed scrutiny.
On specific projects, the report said that work on the road link from the Games Village to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium “started very late and the project was completed in a hurry. The project was split into two packages and ultimately both packages were awarded to the same agency.”
It said that the link road bypass project between Velodrome Road and Salimgarh Fort, which was delayed by 19 months, was also “split into two packages, but both packages were awarded to the same contractor. A premium of 25 per cent was paid to the contractor on labour and machinery cost due to the compressed time schedule.”
On the bus parking near the stadium, the report said that as against the contracted amount of Rs.303.97 crore, the work was completed “with a saving of about Rs.7 crore,” but this only “indicates that administrative approval and sanctions were given to badly prepared and ill-conceived estimates.”
In ‘upgradation of streetlights,' the HLC said that “for unexplained reasons, a restricted tendering system was adopted.” While administrative approval was given for a total sum of Rs. 465 crore, the “unknown practice of involving a luminaire manufacturer as the leading partner was introduced, and a provision was made for fixing only imported luminaire on certain stretches.”
It pointed out that “successful parties imported luminaire at a much lower price than quoted and cited in the tender bid.”
While the Delhi government also prided itself on taking up the street-scaping work, the HLC said that “unrealistically high estimates were prepared, and even then there were large variations in the estimated and actual quantities. There are serious reservations about the surfaces used for the footpaths and strong doubts about the quality of work executed.”
It also found the horticulture intervention to be of temporary nature “as many plants had already withered.”
On the signages installed by the Public Works Department (PWD) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the report said: “The high cost of sheets was justified on grounds of the long life and low maintenance cost. However, the installed signages are already getting worn out in the NDMC area.”
The report said that “four contractors captured 60 per cent of the PWD work by value, on their terms, to the detriment of economy and efficiency.”
It also remarked that “it is likely that the conduct of key members of the Works Advisory Board, including its chairman, was complicit in causing ‘undue gain' to contractors.”