`Over Rs 1,600cr loss in contracts for CWG venues`

"It appears as if to economise was criminal and to splurge was civil."

Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 09:42 AM IST

New Delhi: "It appears as if to economise
was criminal and to splurge was civil."

This was the observation made by the high-level Shunglu
Committee which found a loss of over Rs 1,600 crore in
construction and renovation of venues for Commonwealth Games
by different government agencies.

In its fourth report on Games venues, the Committee has
blamed senior officials of civic and construction government
agencies like Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Delhi
Development Authority (DDA), Public Works Department (PWD),
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and RITES among others for
inordinate delays, inflated prices and rigged tender process.

The Committee found Rs 800 crore as cost of delay in
completing construction of all the games and training venues
across the national capital and said that financial oversight
by different agencies resulted in undue gain of over Rs 250
crore to contractors.

The HLC said that there was an estimated Rs 574 crore of
"wasteful expenditure" on certain types of assets.

The Committee, constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to look into the complaints of corruption in Games
projects, scrutinised works related to construction of 16
Games venues at the cost of Rs 3,718.19 crore and 10 training
venues worth Rs 829.10 crore.

"It has been observed that even in case of Games venues,
there was a long period of inaction on the part of all
stakeholders, viz. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, OC,
Venue Owners, Sport Federations. Despite most of the Games
Venues getting identified in the year 2003 itself, no
preparatory action was taken by the Venue Owners...The Venue
Owners and /or their consultants unduly delayed submission of
`Return Briefs`," it said.

The final selection of Competition and Training Venues by
OC was done only in December, 2005. "This delay was compounded
by the delay in preparation and finalisation of venue briefs.
Consequently, the process of award and commencement of work at
various Games Venues was inordinately delayed and the
`emergency` clause in various contracts got activated.

"Thus, despite being forced to accept a `steep increase`
in project cost (ranging between 5 to 10 per cent) and
accepting very high tenders, not a single Games Venue could be
completed on schedule," the report said.

The two-member Committee under the chairmanship of former
Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu pointed procedural
violations by CPWD, DDA, NDMC, PWD, RITES or Engineers India
Limited (EIL).

The panel objected to Rs 30 crore spent on security by
Ministry of Home Affairs at Ramjas College, Shri Ram College
of Commerce, Kirori Mall College, Daulat Ram College, Polo
Ground, Delhi Public School R K Puram, Jamia Millia Sports
Complex, Saket Sports Complex, Shivaji Stadium and Chhatrasal

"It defies logic why the Ministry of Home Affairs decided
to spend over 30 crore on installation of sophisticated
cameras and other security gadgets at 14 Training Venues
where large number of spectators were not expected.

"Threat perception could have been managed through other
less expensive means during the duration of the Games. The
legacy value of the expensive security apparatus installed is
also not clear," the Committee said.

The HLC noted "glaring" instance is the cost of seats
that have been installed in various Competition and Training
Venues which range between Rs 1,165 per chair installed in the
Upper Tier of Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium to Rs 7,781 per chair
in the still incomplete Shivaji Stadium.

"Concerned CPWD officials are prima facie guilty of
aiding and abetting this process of defrauding the
Government...," the Committee said.

Giving details of irregularities at Talkatora Indoor
Stadium, the panel said "an ineligible firm was appointed as
consultant and the contract for construction was awarded
to Simplex on a single tender basis.

"Administrative approval and Expenditure sanction
was obtained for an astronomical Rs 150 crore. The contract
amount was Rs 72.18 crore against the estimated cost of 38.8
crore," it said.

The HLC pointed finger at Anil Khanna, Treasurer of OC
and Secretary General of All India Tennis Association (AITA)
for renovation work at R K Khanna Tennis Stadium.

"In case of the artificial surface used at R K Khanna
Tennis Stadium, it was observed that a ?conflict of interest?
situation existed as Anil Khanna, was the treasurer of OC and
also the Secretary General of AITA and had a hand in
suggesting the type of surface to be used.

"Since the contract was awarded to his son Aditya, who
was the CEO of the Indian branch of Rebound Ace, suspicion
of his being indirectly instrumental in getting the contracts
awarded linger," the report said.

The Committee found evidence of criminal misconduct and
managerial lapses on part of higher functionaries including
Chairman of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Director
General of Central Public Works Departments (CPWD), senior
officials of Delhi Development Authority and Engineers India
Limited among others.