Aimed at kickstarting the 'Delhi by night' concept, the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) had launched the project of illuminating heritage monuments across Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
But two years down the line, the project is in a limbo as 11 ITDC officials are facing major penalty proceedings for making faulty purchases of floodlights.
Six officials have been chargesheeted in connection with the work for six Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments, while five personnel have been chargesheeted for work-related to eight monuments."The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has imposed a major penalty and an inquiry is going on," said a source. The penalty was imposed about six to eight weeks ago.
The Ministry of Tourism had sanctioned Rs. 23.75 crore to the ITDC for this project. Thirteen ASI-listed monuments were chosen for the first phase, while the second phase featured 33 such monuments.
The mix-up happened in the purchase of ballasts — devices intended to limit the amount of energy used. "Documents under the Right to Information Act revealed that electronic ballasts were to be purchased but in reality, electro-magnetic ballasts were purchased. These kinds of ballasts result in huge energy wastage, and also push up the cost," said Jagjit Singh Walia, the RTI applicant.
"On the advice of the CVC, a chargesheet was issued to all and penalty will be finalised on the basis of the proceedings," said Lalit K Panwar, ITDC vice chairperson and managing director.
ITDC is tight-lipped about when, if at all, the next set of monuments will be taken up for illumination. "With this kind of major penalty case, it is unlikely that anything else would be taken up in the future," Panwar said.