CAG lambastes CPWD for CWG mess

The Comptroller and Auditor General has found that CPWD showed favouritism to certain contractors.

New Delhi: Taking a dim view of the renovation and upgradation work carried out in various sporting venues here for the Commonwealth Games, the
Comptroller and Auditor General has found that blatant favouritism was shown to certain contractors by the CPWD.

It has also found deficiencies in the bidding process and inexplicable delays in project execution by the CPWD which led to inflated cost in carrying out the work.

The appointment of Consulting Engineering Services as the main design consultant for five main stadia was seriously flawed as it did not have the specific expertise in designing stadiums, the report said.

Many concessions including extra payments were given to contractors of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Pool.

Deficiencies in execution of work in the construction of the weightlifting auditorium at JLN Stadium and Kadarpur Shooting range are being highlighted by the CAG in its latest report.

It has pointed out that faulty methods were adopted to inflate rates for the benefit of the vendor involving providing chairs for VIPs and media at five venues.

However, commenting upon the CAG findings, CPWD director general CS Prasad said, "It is an audit point of view. It was not an engineering report. Engineers should examine it to ascertain whether the work is good or bad."

Prasad said, "We will be submitting a proper report with documents after examining the CAG report." CAG has observed that the appointment of Consulting Engineering Services (CES) as the main design consultant for five main stadia - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Dr SP Mukherjee Stadium, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Stadium and Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range - was seriously flawed.

Though CES did not directly possess specific experience in designing sports stadia with its experience being primarily in providing consultancy for roads and bridges, it was still selected.

Other bidders with fairly good experiences like Mott Macdonald which had constructed Wembley Stadium in London, Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia and Lord`s cricket ground in London were rejected.

CAG has found that the performance of CES in consultancy of almost all the venues was abysmal.

A centralised coordination committee chaired by chairman OC and including representatives from venue owners, implementing agencies, was responsible for selection of brands of sports surfaces.

The CAG found clear instances of favouritism and bias shown by this committee which was largely guided by the OC in selecting sport surfaces for athletic tracks, hockey turf and badminton court mats.

CAG observed that numerous irregularities and relaxations in the tendering process for different works relating to the gymnastics stadium, hostel, media centre at IG Stadium Complex were made to favour bidder Swadeshi Construction.

A joint tendering mechanism was put in place for selection of agencies for laying the sports surfaces at the venues. "We found serious deficiencies in the award of the contract for laying of synthetic athletic track surfaces by CPWD to Shiv Naresh Sports Ltd. The restrictive tendering conditions resulted in a situation where the awarded rates were much higher than comparative rates quoted for similar works," the report said.

In the case of the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, audit revealed dilution of pre-qualification criteria benefiting a particular contractor. Estimates were lowered substantially during the tendering process to discourage big companies from participating.

"We also found that the justified rates calculated by the CPWD did not truly reflect the market as there was evidence of much lower rates for components of the main work from outsourced agencies," the CAG said.

There were inexplicable delays with re-tendering twice along with dilution of bid criteria in award of the work of the public address system to a firm which was found ineligible in the first and second rounds of tendering.

The CAG found that the inflation of rates of VVIP and media chairs procured for five stadia resulting in extra expenditure of Rs 3.66 crore was unjustified.

There was a systematic pattern of calculations and recalculations for inflation of rates which ultimately benefited the vendor Superior Furnitures, the report said.

CAG also found that the area over which the synthetic track was laid included 9,130 sq metres outside the main track and area of final warm up and call rooms at JLN Stadium at a cost of Rs 6.63 crore.


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