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Notices to ex-BMC chief, 4 others

THE LOKAYUKTA has issued show cause notices to five officials including a former Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Vinay Nigam on a complaint of financial bungling in payments to contractors of the Kolar Augmentation Scheme?s phase-II.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 12:23 IST
Anil Dubey

THE LOKAYUKTA has issued show cause notices to five officials including a former Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Vinay Nigam on a complaint of financial bungling in payments to contractors of the Kolar Augmentation Scheme’s phase-II.

The Lokayukta has issued notices to a resident auditor Shaharwar for overlooking irregularities in payments and three PHE engineers posted in BMC. They include executive engineers – Sanjay Andhwan, Sunil Shrivastava and assistant engineer (Kolar) A K Pawar.

Lokayukta office has asked the officials to submit their replies before April 24. Reacting to a complaint, Lokayukta initiated an inquiry into the matter about one-and-half-years ago. However, the BMC administration did not provide related documents on time, resulting in delay in the inquiry.

It was alleged contractors were paid huge amounts after the State Government decided to revise the Kolar-II scheme. In March 2004, authorities revised the cost of the Rs 111-crore scheme to Rs 66 crore by dropping some works including construction of filtration plant and pump house.

The works of Kolar-II were allotted in five groups. L&T bagged works of three groups including the construction of raw water pump house (group-I), raw water pump main and clear water pumping main (group-2) and construction of clear water pumping house (group-IV).

These major works were dropped in March 2004. It was decided that only one raw water and one clear water pump would be installed in the present pump houses.

Despite that the BMC made a payment of about Rs 2.90 crore in July 2004 to L&T without curtailing mobilisation advance.
Another construction company- Geo Miller was allotted the work of treatment plant construction. This work was totally dropped.

The work of pipeline laying was allotted to a Delhi based firm- Subhash Project, which was paid about Rs five crore after the scheme was revised. These officials have been charged that the construction companies were given benefit of escalation through wrong formula.

The agreement with the contractors provided for escalation only after all the administrative clearances are obtained. The officials had not curtailed the interest of mobilisation amount in the second payment. Similarly, the security deposits were also not curtailed.

The BMC had made these payments after receiving a loan of Rs 13 crore from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). The BMC had proposed to take a loan worth Rs 77 crore for this scheme.

It is learnt that some of these officials might ask for more time to furnish their replies.


Questions still unanswered
1 Why the mobilisation amount was not curtailed from payments made to the L&T in July 2004 when authorities had already decided in March 2004 the works allotted to the L&T were dropped from the scheme?

2 The work of treatment plant allotted to the construction company - Geo Miller - was dropped in March 2004. This company was paid Rs 23 lakh as mobilisation amount. Why officials had not made any effort to recover the amount of this amount even after two years?

3 A committee of officials increased the cost of gravity main laying from about 38.24 crore to about Rs 52 crore in March 2004. The State Government approved this report within 24-hours. Why the technical examination of this report was not carried out before the approval?

4 Why the company doing the gravity main work given the revised bank guarantee for higher cost of Rs 52 crore when the revised work order was not issued as being claimed by the officials?

5 Despite all these payments, why there has been no progress of work at Kolar-II site?

First Published: Apr 13, 2006 12:23 IST