`Over Rs 1,600cr loss in contracts for CWG venues`
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Last Updated: Friday, April 01, 2011, 09:42
  
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 Stadium.

"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.

PTI


First Published: Friday, April 01, 2011, 09:42


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