CVC raises questions on high cost of CWG stadia

Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 10:53 AM IST

New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission has found serious procedural lapses and vast differences between the estimated and tendered costs in the development of almost all the Commonwealth Games venues here.

It has sought clarification from the authorities concerned on this as the difference in cost ranged from 30 per cent to nearly 100 per cent.

According to an internal investigation report made after inspecting the Games stadia, the Commission has noted wrong justification of rates while procuring items, poor quality of construction, grant of work to ineligible firms, rigged tender process, payment of crores of rupees for non-existent items and use of inferior products.

The Games construction works related to stadia as well as other aspects which are under the scanner of the anti-corruption watchdog, were carried out by agencies like Central Public Works Department, Public Works Department, New Delhi Municipal Council, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority and RITES, a government of India enterprise and are worth over Rs 760 crore.

The Commission has found alleged financial irregularities in about 16 Games projects costing Rs 2,477.22 crore.

According to the report, the authorities were far from completing construction and renovation due to various administrative lacunae and improper planning.

The Commission has asked all the authorities, that undertook the construction works, to reply to its queries or observations raised by it.

The report, received in response to an RTI application filed by PTI, said the construction of indoor stadium for badminton and squash for Commonwealth Games at Sirifort sports complex was given to S B E Billimoria and Company Ltd at 30.75 per cent above the estimated cost of about Rs 118.08 crore.

“Most of the items (approximate 95 per cent) were non-scheduled items and their rates in estimate were based on current market rates provided by consultant having experience in such type of work. But the analysis of items prepared for justification was not shown during inspection,” the examiner said in the report.

“When the consultant prepared the estimate on market rates, justification of 21.91 per cent above the estimated cost within a span of approximate three months does not appear reasonable,” the report said.

The Commission also questioned poor quality of work and cost escalation in upgrading Shivaji stadium by an “ineligible” firm and at nearly double the estimated cost at Rs 160.27 crore.

“China Railway Shisiju Group Corporation is a Chinese firm and did not have any work experience in India. The firm was only registered with Registrar of Companies in India. The firm has never worked with any central or state government department/municipal board/autonomous body/public sector undertaking. Even then the firm was pre-qualified and awarded the work,” the CVC pointed out.

“This shows that the pre-qualification was not carried out as per given criteria and the work was awarded to an ineligible firm. This conclusion gets strengthened as the firm is not executing any work and has sublet the entire work,” the watchdog said.

“China Railway Shisihu Corporation stood lowest with their overall negotiated amount of Rs 160.27 crore against estimated cost of Rs 80.25 crore and justified cost of Rs 146.50 crore. While preparing the justification, NDMC considered three per cent enhancement on account of not considering escalation and other parameters,” it said.

“The enhancement is not allowed to be added in the justification as per the procedures of the organisation...It is clear that the justification has been inflated just to justify the tender and therefore the work has been awarded at higher rates,” the report said.

The CVC also observed poor quality of work and surge in cost of construction in upgrading Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium at Rs 147.82 crore, improvement of Talkatora Indoor Stadium at Rs 52.98 crore, S P M swimming pool at the cost of Rs 229.73 crore and development of practice venue for rugby at Jamia Milia Islamia at the tendered amount of Rs 18.37 crore.

According to the report, several discrepancies were also found in construction of road underbridge at Sewa Nagar or Prem Nagar railway crossing and Ring Road bye-pass from Salimgarh fort to Velodrome Road by MCD at the cost of Rs 20.75 crore and Rs 214.73 crore respectively.

Besides, the CVC is looking at about 39 other works carried out by different agencies.

PTI