CAG Heat On Sheila Dikshit, LG Khanna For CWG Mess
New Delhi, Aug 3 : Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Lieutenant- Governor ( L- G) Tejendra Khanna have been rapped by the Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG) over the execution of Commonwealth Games- related projects.
In its performance audit report on Commonwealth Games ( CWG) 2010, the CAG has accused the Delhi government of gross administrative mismanagement and doling out riches to private companies that executed projects for the big ticket event, reports Mail Today.
Some of the infrastructure projects — including the Barapulla Nalla flyover, street lighting and streetscaping — are already being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI).
The CAG has not spared Delhi Lt.- Governor ( L- G) Tejendra Khanna either. In its report on the CWG village, the CAG has said that the Delhi Development Authority ( DDA) — whose ex- officio chairman is the L- G — failed to ensure that the specific environmental concerns of the Union ministry of environment and forests were addressed during the construction of the multi- storied building on the Yamuna river bed.
The DDA had tasked Emaar MGF to develop the controversial village on the river bed near the Akshardham temple.
The report says that a committee headed by the LG and appointed by the Prime Minister ( PM) to monitor the construction of the Games village, never met.
This is contempt of a Supreme Court order. The apex court had allowed the DDA to construct the village after an assurance by Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati that the L- G- headed committee, with Dikshit and environmentalist Dr R. K. Pachauri as the other members, would ensure that flagged environmental issues would be addressed.
The CAG report said that there was nothing on record to suggest that this committee had ever met.
The CAG had reportedly inquired from Dr R. K. Pachauri who is believed to have told the auditors that he had not been called to any meeting of the panel. The CAG report is likely to be tabled in Parliament soon.
The CAG's comments on the Delhi government over CWG projects follows an earlier report by the Prime Minister- appointed V. K. Shunglu committee which had indicted Sheila Dikshit for her state machinery's shoddy role in the execution of CWG projects. A defiant chief minister had outrightly rejected it and termed it as being full of “ contradictions and anomalies”.
However, Delhi's longestserving CM could find it hard to rubbish the audit rap from the CAG. The CAG has taken a critical view of Dikshit's decisions on projects conceived and approved by her.
For instance, street lights in the capital were upgraded before the Games to bring them at par with international standards. The Delhi government decided to modernise 800 km of road space in the Capital at a tender cost of Rs 286 crore.
The lighting projects were to be undertaken by the Public Works Department ( PWD, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi ( MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council ( NDMC). Dikshit had approved and inspected the imported and indigenous lighting systems or luminaries, which are lamp features and fittings, installed on a stretch of road in October 2007.
After the CM gave the green light, the PWD, the MCD and the NDMC decided to use imported luminaries on a section of the road, even though there were no technical reasons or cost benefit analyses for the giving the approvals that had been recorded in the files, the CAG report said.
The report also questions Dikshit's decision on the ground that imported luminaries are not technologically superior to the Indian ones. Yet, the state government decided to purchase the imported ones at a far higher cost leading to a drain on taxpayers' money of more than Rs 30 crore.
The procurement price of the imported luminaries, the CAG concluded, was far higher than the fair price put together on the basis of actual invoice price.
Even the Shunglu report had come down heavily on the CM for allegedly showing “ unusual interest” in the street lighting project that allegedly benefited the private contractors.
In March, the Delhi CM had dubbed as “ totally unfair, inconsistent and not based on facts” V. K. Shunglu's charges on clearing projects by her.
Regarding Dikshit's conceived plans to improve road signage in Delhi, the CAG said that restrictive bidding processes and other undesirable overlays led to wasteful expenditure of Rs 14.88 crore.
In February 2006, the CM suggested an improvement in road signage ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
A presentation was made to the CM on the signage system to be developed in the city by private player, 3M. In keeping with CM's directions, a stretch of road between Tilak Marg and Raj Ghat was selected for a pilot project in April 2006.
The CAG report charged that the PWD did not encourage healthy competition. Instead, the contracts for state- of- the- artroad signs were given to two retro- reflective sheets manufacturers — 3M and Avery Dennison — in March 2009.
Meanwhile, the auditors have raised doubts on two contracts awarded to a leading infrastructure development and finance private firm, Infrastructure, Leasing and Financial Services Ltd ( IL& FS), to clear debris during the CWG games and provide security to Delhi Jal Board's water and sewage treatment plants installed at the Akshardham athletes' village.
Dikshit had been accused by the BJP of favouring IL& FS as her relative is a senior employee of the firm. Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta said that there should be an inquiry as contracts were given to the IL& FS since the chief minister's kin was employed by the firm.
“Awarding of contract to other companies at higher rates during the CWG is suspicious. There should be an inquiry on this,” said Gupta.
Dikshit, incidentally, is also the chairperson of Delhi Jal Board. IL& FS was allegedly picked up by the Delhi government without any tender to provide security to two waste and sewage treatment plants at the CWG village at a cost of Rs 42 lakh in April 2010.
Interestingly, the project amount was increased to Rs 75 lakh, which has not gone down well with the CAG.
The DJB's defence that the work was given to IL& FS for urgent reasons was countered by the auditors on the ground that the state government had decided in February 2008 to provide security at these sites.
The IL& FS was also given the contract at inflated price to pick debris from the construction sites. A comparison done by the CAG reveals that IL& FS was paid Rs 280.32 per metric tonne of debris cleared against Rs 73.42 per metric tonne as per the agreement rate approved for a construction company, Satya Prakash & Brothers.
CAG Findings Against Sheila Dikshit:
- CM gave go ahead for purchase of imported lights without giving technical reasons leading to extra expenditure of over Rs 31 crore
- Her governmentgave IL& FS contracts to clear debris near CWG projects without inviting bids. Her relative works in the company
- Did not opt for competitive bidding for road signages in the capital causing Rs 14 cr loss
CAG Findings against Tejinder Khanna:
- L- G headed a PM- appointed committee to monitor construction work in Commonwealth Games Village. In spite of assurance to the Supreme Court, the panel never met
- DDA flouted environmental concerns while allowing construction of a multi- storied building on Yamuna river bed. The apex court had allowed construction after assurance from AG that eco- norms will be adhered to.