KERALA

Vigilance probe mooted into PWD works

N.J.Nair

Execution of works through waiver of tender proceedings during UDF rule



Finance Department recommends inquiry into the sanctioning of 120 works in eight road divisions

Action recommended against the then political leadership as well as PWD officials



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Finance Department has understood to have recommended a Vigilance inquiry into the irregularities alleged in the execution of public works through waiver of tender proceedings during the tenure of the previous Government.

Official sources told The Hindu that the department recommended an inquiry into the sanctioning of 120 works in eight road divisions in which major irregularities were detected by a special audit team.

It recommended stringent action against the then political leadership as well as the Public Works Department officials, including the former secretary, blamed for ‘having incurred heavy loss to the exchequer’ by liberally sanctioning works overlooking the provisions of the PWD code and manual.

Scrutiny of works

The Finance Department, in a similar manner, also gave directives for scrutinising works executed in different parts of the State during the UDF regime.

It secured all relevant files from the PWD and ordered a scrutiny after conducting a preliminary assessment of the manner in which the works were awarded, sources said. The note on caution advised by officials at the middle-level in waiving the tender proceedings was overlooked at the highest level while sanctioning such works.

The focus of the scrutiny would be on the maintenance and repair works carried out ‘as occasioned by VVIP visits to the State’. Huge amounts were expended without any restriction and this caused heavy loss to the Government, sources said.

As per business rules, the signatory to the orders issued for sanctioning works would be held primarily liable for action. But the special audit team said that there was a general tendency to waive tender calls for even works involving huge expenditure.

Orders for Plan works were issued by the Government and officials ranging from Assistant Executive Engineer to Chief Engineer in the case of Non-Plan works.

Hence, officials as well as the Government would be held responsible for the lapses, sources said.

Special audit team

The special audit team provided all significant details about the works and ways in which the rules were thought to have been violated. It pointed out that 102 works estimated to cost Rs.170.88 crore were arranged between 2003-04 and 2005-06 without budget provision.

As many as 30 works costing Rs.78.44 crore were arranged by the Manjeri roads division in 2005-06.

Two road divisions had arranged 18 works costing Rs.23.97 crore during the same period against meagre budget provisions. More details were expected to be revealed in the scrutiny, sources said.

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