CAG detects excess payment of Rs 14.34 cr under PWD

CAG detects excess payment of Rs 14.34 cr under PWD

Kohima, February 16: The CAG of India has detected excess payment of Rs 11.51 crore and undue payment of Rs 2.83 cr totaling to Rs 14.34 cr by Public Works Department (Roads & Bridges) Nagaland for construction of 18.49 kms Pukhungri-Avankhu-Layshi Road.
This was revealed in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on Economic Sector of the Government of Nagaland (GoN) for the year ended March 31, 2018, a copy of which was tabled in the just concluded State Assembly by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also holds finance portfolio.
The CAG report stated that construction of 18.49 kms Pukhungri-Avankhu-Layshi Road in Phek district estimated at Rs 10.42 crore under the supervision of PWD (Roads & Bridges) Nagaland was sanctioned by the North Eastern Council (NEC) in September 2005 with the objective to promote border trade between Myanmar and India.
The approved cost was revised in November 2012 to Rs 23.39 crore stating three reasons which include difference in rates in the approved DPR (SOR 2002) and existing rates (SOR 2010), Exclusion of ordinary rock and hard rock requiring blasting in formation cutting in the approved DPR; and 28 additional Hume pipe culverts, revealed the CAG report.
Examination of records revealed that NEC released Rs 20 crore to the State and Government of Nagaland also released its share of Rs 1.89 crore to the EE Phek Division.
The CAG observed from records that the work was initially awarded in August 2004 to M/s Nagaland Builders for Rs 9.32 cr to be completed by September 2007, however the work which commenced in January 2005 could not be completed.
The first work order was therefore cancelled in August 2011 after payment of Rs 2.83 cr for execution of formation cutting works completed up to 13.53 Km.
Consequently, the work for the remaining twelve items of work for Rs 17.06 cr was awarded to M/s Vi-u Angami & Sons in December 2012 to be completed by March 2014, it said.
Further examination of relevant records revealed the second contractor (M/s Vi-u Angami & Sons) applied for enhancement of rate from Rs 414/cubic metre (cum) to Rs 2039.45/cum on hard rock item (required blasting) in the same month before commencement of the work. The enhancement of the rate (Rs 1800/cum) was also approved in January 2013 by GoN.
It was also observed that M/s Vi-u Angami & Sons was paid Rs 10.98 crore for execution of works from drainage 0 to 13.54 Km stretch at an enhanced rate including the work which the first contractor was paid for execution of works from drainage 0 to 1 Km.
This clearly indicated that the first contractor did not execute any works between drainage 0 to 1 Km but was however paid Rs 2.83 cr.
This has resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 2.83 crore which needs to be recovered, the CAG said.
Stating that the formation cutting work in 18.49 Km was recorded as complete as on March 2016 and the second contractor was paid Rs 14.11 cr, the CAG observed from the measurement book that 71587.05 cum of hard rock valued for Rs 12.89 cr (91%) out of Rs 14.11 crore was excavated through blasting. The licensee utilized only 2400 Kgs power gel 901 explosive during the period from June 2013 to March 2016, it said.
The quantity of hard rock that could be excavated by utilizing 2400 Kgs of power gel 901 explosive (at the rate of 12.5 Kg/40 cum) would be 7680 cum, the CAG remarked stating that the value of 7680 cum of hard rock at the approved rate was only Rs 1.38 cr.
This indicated that the quantity of hard rock recorded as excavated and paid was exaggerated by 63907.05 cum, the CAG observed.
Thus, the fictitious entries made in the Measuring Book by the Executive Engineer led to excess payment of Rs 11.51 cr.
The CAG said that the Department in its reply in December 2018 stated that the first contractor completed 12.54 Km of the road and had to abandon due to steep gradient beyond the permissible limit.
The road was re-aligned and the contractor carried out only one kilometre road work and surrendered the work after encountering rocky portion in the second kilometre, which required blasting, the Department reported, adding that the total length executed by the first contractor was 13.54 Km.
Therefore, another contractor was engaged to complete the remaining portion of the road.
With regard to payment of second contractor for blasting hard rock, payment was made as per the quantum of work executed and the approved rate analysis but not as per the quantity of explosive used, the Department’s reply stated.
However, the CAG observed that the reply was not acceptable as the Department did not furnish any records to substantiate the abandonment and change in alignment of the road.
Further, it said that the department’s reply substantiated the facts that the contractor was allowed the rate for excavation of hard rock blasting without utilization of required quantity of explosive materials by the contractor.
Therefore, the CAG recommended that the department should initiate action against the officers involved in recording fictitious entries in the measurement book and the excess payment be recovered. (Page News Service)