New Delhi: At a time when the government has reasserted its resolve to speed up construction of highways in the country, the World Bank has raised the red flag over corrupt practices being employed by private contractors working on highway projects funded by it.
As per a report published in a leading daily, World Bank’s Institutional Integrity Unit has pointed out fraudulent practices by contractors, and sought a thorough probe into the matter.
The report, dated March 1, 2012, claims that contractors have paid bribes in cash and as gifts to officials and consultants of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to influence their decisions.
Under the scanner are the World Bank-funded Lucknow-Muzaffarpur National Highway project, the Third National Highway Project and the Grand Trunk Road Improvement Project.
The World Bank report said that contractors have misrepresented facts on the use of advance paid by the Bank through submission of fake invoices.
The heavy machinery and equipment meant to be used on World Bank projects were diverted to other contractors, the report said.
Overall, the discrepancies in the execution of World Bank funded projects have coast implications of crores of rupees.
The newspaper report further said that the finance ministry has asked the road ministry to take appropriate action in the matter, including getting the matter investigated by an appropriate investigative agency.
First Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 09:45