DPDC to conduct annual audit of MSEDCL works after third-party audit reveals irregularities - Hindustan Times
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DPDC to conduct annual audit of MSEDCL works after third-party audit reveals irregularities

BySiddharth Gadkari
Jan 18, 2024 07:30 AM IST

The Gokhale Institute’s report highlighted that power companies had awarded projects exclusively to certain contractors. The inspection revealed the use of inferior quality material in pillars, electric wires, plants, equipment etc.

As a third-party audit by the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics has revealed irregularities in the work carried out by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL/Mahavitaran) which was allocated by the Pune District Planning Development Committee (DPDC), the Pune DPDC has now decided to conduct an annual audit of the MSEDCL work.

In 2019-20, the Pune DPDC had allocated funds to the tune of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>40 crore for the MSEDCL works, especially infrastructure development. However, some of the committee members objected to contract irregularities and the substandard quality of works executed by the MSEDCL and demanded an enquiry. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
In 2019-20, the Pune DPDC had allocated funds to the tune of 40 crore for the MSEDCL works, especially infrastructure development. However, some of the committee members objected to contract irregularities and the substandard quality of works executed by the MSEDCL and demanded an enquiry. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

In 2019-20, the Pune DPDC had allocated funds to the tune of 40 crore for the MSEDCL works, especially infrastructure development. However, some of the committee members objected to contract irregularities and the substandard quality of works executed by the MSEDCL and demanded an enquiry. Hence, the then Pune district guardian minister Girish Bapat ordered an audit of the MSEDCL works. Accordingly, the DPDC appointed Pune-based Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics to conduct the audit.

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As part of its audit, the Gokhale Institute brought to light several malpractices in the projects carried out by the MSEDCL. The Gokhale Institute’s report highlighted that power companies had awarded projects exclusively to certain contractors. The inspection revealed the use of inferior quality material in pillars, electric wires, plants, equipment etc. The Gokhale Institute audit report, submitted to the DPDC, questioned the MLAs’ role in the works and materials.

Kiran Indalkar, Pune district planning officer, said, “The Gokhale Institute conducted an audit of the MSEDCL’s work, raising objections over the quality of work. Typically, the DPDC allocates funds to the MSEDCL for installing electric distribution panels (DPs) in rural areas, and underground overhead electricity cables in urban areas. We sent a letter along with the report, requesting compliance with its findings. However, the MSEDCL has not taken any action based on the report. Therefore, we plan to send another letter, insisting on compliance with the report.”

“This year, there’s a possibility of approving approximately 100 crore in funds for the MSEDCL’s development projects. Therefore, we have decided to conduct an audit of their work again this year,” Indalkar said.

Rajendra Pawar, chief engineer of the MSEDCL Pune Circle, said, “The Gokhale Institute inspected the work which was carried out in 2016. They submitted a report in 2019-20. After that, we rectified all concerns raised by the Gokhale Institute in 2019-20 and instructed all contractors to work as per technical specifications and carry out quality work.”

“On Wednesday, January 17, we held a meeting with all contractors and MSEDCL officials and instructed them to carry out quality work or face action. Every year, we get around 50 crore for development of infrastructure. This year, the amount has doubled. We have empanelled contractors and the work will be given to them,” Pawar said.

There is a DPDC in every district, the main job of which is to prepare a draft development plan for the entire district. The state legislature forms this committee to bring together plans from various local bodies like Zilla Parishads, Gram Panchayats, Nagar Panchayats, municipal councils and municipal corporations in the district. A key responsibility of the DPDC is to support decentralised planning in the state. It creates plans covering areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, watershed development, women and child care, public health, and education. The committee ensures coordinated development with the resources available. When making development plans, the committee takes into account the specific needs of the people, the growth potential of the area, and the budget allocations. The committee plays a crucial role in the function of ‘economic and social justice planning,’ which is now a required local responsibility. Every year, the state allocates certain funds to the DPDC which it spends on various development works suggested by the committee members.

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