In the run-up to the October 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government, as part of its beautification drive, had dug up streets and pavements in the Capital. The drive not only caused much inconvenience to residents but had also become big “eyesores” marring the Delhi landscape.
While the Delhi government had termed the drive as a huge success, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its draft audit observations on the preparations for the Commonwealth Games (CWG), has noted that the drive before the CWG resulted in losses to the tune of Rs100 crore to the exchequer.
The CAG is likely to submit its report to Parliament in the ongoing budget session. The loss has been mainly on account of the project cost shooting up because of the delay in starting work, replacement of pavement material and kerbstones where it was not required and restrictive competition.
According to CAG, the Public Works Department —which undertook bulk of the work —spent approximately R 245 crore on beautification.
Of this, the total loss to the exchequer has been pegged close to Rs100 crore.
The PWD spent between Rs3 crore to Rs10 crore per km on paving roads as compared to the National Highway Authority of India — the central highway building agency — which spends between Rs9 crore to Rs10 crore per km on constructing a four-lane road.
The Delhi government went against the recommendation of its own advisor — a retired director general of the CPWD—who had advised against removing kerbstones and pavement blocks, which were in a good state. But the government ignored the advice and removed pavement blocks and kerbstones even in places where it was not necessary.