CAG slams ‘avoidable’ expenditure for Connaught Place renovation

August 5th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The renovation work in Connaught Place (CP) in the runup to the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) was plagued by bad organisation on part of the civic agency and “significant deficiencies” in awarding of contracts which led to “avoidable” expenditure, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said.

The CAG report on irregularities in the CWG was tabled in parliament Friday.

In a chapter dedicated to the renovation and restoration of CP, the report said that nearly nine-fold increase in the scope and cost of the project was “driven, at least partly by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) by the government in November 2005 and the subsequent inclusion of the project under JNNURM”.

The original estimate was Rs.76 crore (in May 2005) which rose to Rs.671 crore (July 2007).

The report said that since the detailed project report was submitted only in February 2008, it was “unreasonable” to expect that the project could have been completed in time for the Games, especially in view of the constraints of traffic movement.

Blaming the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for the undue delay, the report said: “In our opinion the NDMC should have divided this project into manageable packages, so organised as to minimise traffic disruption… and then taken up only those project components which could have been completed by June 2010 (before the onset of monsoon)”.

“NDMC, however, chose not to follow such approach,” it said.

Pointing at various deficiencies in contract management, the report said that in the inner and outer circles of CP, granite stone kerb instead of concrete was used “with a difference in expenditure of Rs.5.97 crore”.

“This included avoidable expenditure of Rs.0.61 crore, due to an unjustified change in colour of granite stone kerb from ‘Sindoori Red’ colour to ‘Rajashri Red’ colour,” the report said.

“Currently, the project for renovation and restoration of CP is nowhere near completion, given the difficulties of traffic management and ill-conceived planning. We find it difficult to assess the timeline by which this project is likely to be completed,” it added.

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