'Ill-planning' to cost UT over Rs 1-cr for school building
A school building that could have been constructed with Rs 2 crore will now cost over Rs 3.1 crore to UT exchequer, thanks to alleged ill-planning and lack of coordination between two departments of Chandigarh administration.
Besides, the building of Government High School at Manimajra, which will be used to impart education to around 1,300 children, is still incomplete.
The engineering department had first identified a disputed property as the site for the school. Then it failed to get the building plans approved. Finally, when the deadline to construct the building expired, it recalled the tenders and allotted work at 60% more cost than the original project cost.
Besides a loss of over Rs 1 crore, the department also attracted a claim of Rs 96 lakh from the private contractor and dispute settlement through an arbiter.
Sources said the case dated back to September 2009 when the engineering department had allotted construction of the school building to a private contractor, who was given a deadline of one year to complete the project.
However, the construction work could not start in the first six months of the allotment as the department had identified a disputed land at Manimajra for construction of the school building.
"Later, the department shifted the project to another land. However, the shifting also didn't help matters as the department failed to get the building plans approved from the urban and town planning department," an official said.
Around nine months had passed by that time and only a boundary wall of the building had come up.Saying that the delay had led to the increased construction cost, the private contractor demanded an increase in the budget and then pulled out of the project. Thereafter, the department floated fresh tenders and allotted work to a company for Rs 3.1 crore, which was 60% more than the original cost.
When contacted, SK Chadha, chief engineer, UT, and Prem Pal Sharma, executive engineer, capitol project division 1, refused to comment.
Sandeep Hans, director public instructions (DPI), schools, UT, said, "I am not aware of what had delayed the construction. However, children of Manimajra and surrounding areas are in dire need of the school. At present, the government schools in the area have been running two shifts to accommodate the students."