The cost of beautifying a kilometer of Delhi streets for the Commonwealth Games was more than that of laying rail tracks and almost half the amount needed for building four-lane highways of equal length.
The comptroller and auditor general's report on the CWG projects, criticising the Sheila Dikshit government, said the projects were not only "ill-conceived and ill-planned", but were also executed in "an ad hoc and arbitrary manner", leading to a Rs 101.02-crore wastage.
"The street-scaping works were finally awarded at … Rs 3.63 crore to Rs 9.75 crore with an average cost of Rs 5.32 crore (per km). By contrast, the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) adopts an estimated cost of Rs 9.5 crore/km for construction of a four-lane highway, and Indian Railway's estimated cost of construction of a track is around Rs 4.2 crore/km," the report said.
It also said the arbitrarily appointed consultants pushed up costs by unnecessarily adopting higher specifications.
The government finally awarded surfacing of pavements at Rs 717 to Rs 2,679 per square metre.
Dikshit responded to charges, saying: "We have not done anything wrong… Everything was done keeping in mind the national interest and prestige..."
Later, in a hurriedly called press conference, Delhi chief secretary Praveen Kumar Tripathi defended Dikshit and said all the procedures were followed in awarding the contracts.
This is the second report apart from the Central vigilance commission's technical team's reports - to have criticised the Dikshit government for the planning and execution of the CWG projects.