Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has passed serious strictures against the State-run City and Industrial Development Corporation for irregularities and procedural lapses during the previous BJP-led dispensation while awarding multiple contracts worth over Rs 2,000 crore.
These works were connected with the Navi Mumbai airport and Metro projects and the Nerual-Uran railway project.
The lapses were glaring: Advertisements in respect of 16 tenders with estimated cost of Rs 50 crore and above were not released in leading newspapers at the national level, in violation of the laid down guidelines.
Again, global tenders for the airport and the metro projects were not published in any international publication.
Likewise, in six contracts worth an estimated Rs 890.42 crore, the contractors did not possess the minimum prescribed work experience, but were nonetheless awarded the orders.
Furthermore, CAG has rapped CIDCO for 30% increase in expenditure incurred on infrastructural works from Rs 706.04 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 920.10 crore in 2017-18. The average expenditure incurred against the budgetary estimate during the five-year period 2013-18 was 61%.
In seven contracts of estimated cost of more than Rs 15 crore each, the bidders were technically evaluated by dispensing with the marking system for technical qualification of the bidders.
In 10 contracts of the value of Rs 429.89 crore, the existing contractors were awarded additional work valuing Rs 69.39 crore at different sites without even inviting tenders in violation of the existing norms.
In the case of NMMR, the CAG rapped CIDCO for delays in construction.
Although the project was scheduled to be completed by December 2013, major works like rail system contracts and approach viaduct works were awarded only in the year 2014 and are yet to be completed (November 2018). The project cost was revised to Rs 3,064 crore, while the expenditure incurred on the project up to August 2019 was Rs 1,759 crore.
Further, in one contract valuing Rs 1,328 crore pertaining to NMMR project, excess mobilisation advance amounting to Rs 25.33 crore was paid in violation of the contract conditions.
In three contracts valuing Rs 2033.72 crore pertaining to land development works of the NMIA project, CIDCO paid Rs 22.08 crore as price variation on material component, although these works were carried out by cutting the hill and filling the same with rock obtained from the said hill.
In 22 contracts with a contract value of Rs 4,759.94 crore, CIDCO had not recovered compensation for delay amounting to Rs 185.97 crore, even though the delay in completion of work or not achieving the milestones were attributable to the contractors.
CIDCO did not recover liquidated damages from the consultants for NMMR and NURP, although delay in issuance of drawings was attributable to the consultants.
In case of NURP, due to delay in appointment of consultant and lack of synchronization in various activities, the completion of phase I of the project was delayed from December 2015 to November 2018. The station works are yet to be completed and phase II is still in progress (November 2018).
In fact, CIDCO had to terminate (May 2016) the work awarded for construction of rail over bridge at Dronagiri to avoid the gas pipelines passing under the foundation after incurring expenditure of Rs 67 lakh.
Another work of ROB near the proposed Uran station was held up due to BPCL not granting permission for the work of approach road, as an underground gas pipeline was passing below the approach road.
Although the work of ROB was completed (February 2019) at a cost of Rs 38.20 crore, the ROB is yet (August 2019) to be opened to traffic.
Delays in Execution
Further, the CAG expressed displeasure over non implementation of Information technology based monitoring system for engineering works and projects by CIDCO.
The IT based monitoring system would have enabled management to receive all the project related information in real time to enable timely and appropriate action on critical issues.
The coastal road constructed at a cost of Rs 50.94 crore in June 2012 could not be utilized for more than six years as the construction of precast arch bridges on holding ponds was completed only in January 2019.
The work of construction of road of 3.38 km length at Dronagiri, including asphalting, storm water drains, sewer lines and water supply line, was short closed (December 2015) as the remaining area was covered under mangroves and encroachments.
CAG also said the CIDCO did not prepare any long, medium or short term plans for infrastructure works as it lacked a systematic and comprehensive plan.
This resulted in sanctioning of proposals for infrastructure works on a case to case basis. CIDCO had incurred an expenditure of Rs 4,459 crore on various infrastructure projects/works.
The report for the year ended March 31, 2018 was tabled by Finance Minister Ajit Pawar in the state assembly.