On one hand, the cash-strapped government is planning to slash the expenditure on development, while on the other it is spending around Rs 2 crore on renovating cabins of newly-inducted ministers. And the renovation work is being carried out without following due process.
Out of the 26 cabins in the Mantralaya, 18 are in the old annexe building, while eight are in the renovated main building.
After the expansion of the Cabinet last month, some of the new ministers and ministers of state (MoS) were given cabins in the annexe building.
At least 10 ministers have asked the public works department (PWD) to renovate their cabins on urgent basis, while a few have chosen to let the interiors remain unchanged.
Giving in to the demand, the PWD has hired contractors without issuing any tenders or seeking the mandatory permission from the general administration department (GAD), sources said.
A few of the cabins, which were said to be in a good condition, were demolished, with the PWD claiming they were infested with termites or rotten wood was used for the furniture.
The GAD has reportedly warned the PWD officials for carrying out renovation works without its permission.
“Around Rs 15-20 lakh is being spent on renovating each of the 10 cabins and few of the bungalows. The others have been cleaned up, polished and painted,” said an official from Mantralaya, who did not wish to be named.
“Cabins of PWD minister Chandrakant Patil, Eknath Shinde, Ravindra Waikar, Vinod Tawde and Girish Mahajan have been renovated or are under renovation. Some of the rooms have been redone just a few years ago. The PWD was told to take up minor repair work, but it has instead opted for a complete makeover,” the official said.
The contractors have taken shelter of a provision that allows allotting a third of government contracts to the labour cooperative societies without inviting tenders.
Contractors have formed these societies to bag contracts with the help of the public works department, the official said.
When contacted, PI Sukhdeve, deputy engineer, PWD, said, “We have followed all procedures for the renovation of 10 cabins, which were in a bad shape and needed urgent repairs.” He, however, said he was not aware of the estimated cost.