Thursday, July 29, 2010

29 July 2010



By R Rajagopalan
NEW DELHI: Even as the Commonwealth Games (CWG) preparations come under public criticism for time and cost overruns, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has cracked the whip on six government agencies for lapses and irregularities, including loot of public money by awarding works at higher rates, in the CWG-related works in Delhi.

It has sought explanation from the Delhi Government, two civic bodies, and other agencies based on deficiencies detected in a surprise inspection carried out by its Chief Technical Examiner's wing. 

Central Public Works Department (CPWD), PWD of Delhi Government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC), DDA and RITES have come under the CVC's censure for the gross irregularities detected during the inspection.

Award of works at exhorbitant costs, poor quality of works due to lack of monitoring and contracts to ineligible agencies are the main charges levelled against the agencies tasked with the CWG works.

"The Commission has advised the organisations concerned to take corrective steps in the works inspected," says a CVC note, stressing that they have been advised "systemic improvement, adherence to CVC guidelines on transparency in tenders and procurement and fixing of responsibility against officers identified for lapses."

The inspection report, available with this correspondent, says: "Almost all the organisations executing works for CWG have considered inadmissible factors to jack up the reasonable price to justify award of works at quoted rates, citing urgent/emergent circumstances. Despite higher rates, poor site management, delays and quality compromises have been observed."

It has identified at least 30 items for which no tenders were issued but they were incorporated in the contracts at higher rates after receipt of the tenders.
It points out that in one case the tender documents tampered by overwriting the price after the bids were opened to increase the quoted amount by Rs 3.63 crores over the price quoted by the next highest bidder.

The inspection report also slams the civic authorities for buying imported luminaries at the exorbitant price that was three times the rates quoted for indigenous supply of fittings with same technical specifications and other performance parameters, putting extra burden of Rs 1.52 crores on the exchequer.

The report also refers to execution of poor quality works but test records fabricated to show high strength. It says 12 samples failed to meet the 28-day strength test, though seven-day samples were shown to achieve high strength. Concrete core samples taken from the already laid concrete also failed to meet the requirement of the strength in testing by an independent outside laboratory and cement content was found much less than prescribed and recorded to have been used.

"This indicates forging of testing records, Third party quality assurance agency also failed to point out major failure of concrete samples and preparation of forged testing records," the report said.

Pointing out that almost all the agencies have taken up work of streetscaping, especially kerb stone and footpath tiles without ascertaining the need for such upgradation, the report said, "The purpose of aesthetics could not be achieved due to poor quality control, lack of supervision and coordination. "

The report also expressed concern that the electrical installations were not tested before energising them and putting to public use as mandatory. "In absence of the same, any type of electrical mis-happenings cannot be ruled out."

It also points out how ineligible agencies were awarded the work. In one case. In one case, a joint venture (JV) firm was qualified while it was different from the firm which had filed the bids. Work finally had to be terminated which resulted into time and cost overrun, the report added.


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