CAG raps MEA for its Paris project

New Delhi: Rapping Ministry of External Affairs for delaying work in Indian Chancery in Paris, the Comptroller and Auditor General said it has blocked capital of Rs 18 crore for past five years apart from the Mission incurring a recurring liability of Rs 26 lakh per year.

"Delay in implementation of project has blocked the capital of Rs 18 crore on purchase of new building which has been lying unused since 2006. The Mission has also been forced to incur a recurring liability of Rs 26 lakh per annum on rent of the Space Wing which was envisaged to be relocated in the new building after renovation," the CAG said in its report.

Despite audit findings reported earlier and assurances given by the ministry to Public Accounts Committee, it was noticed during audit of the Mission at Paris that it took more than four years to complete the formalities in awarding the contract for renovation work, it said.

The CAG also highlighted that delay in renovating properties within a reasonable time frame led to "avoidable expenditure" on rent.

In another case, it noted that the chancery-annexe project in Budapest conceived in 1996 took 14 years to materialise. "In particular, failure to firm up the floor area of the project in 2001 itself ultimately placed an additional financial burden of Hungarian Forint (HUF) 164.02 million (Rs 3.62 crore) on the exchequer," it said.