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CAG finds gaping holes in road construction process in UP

Tabled in the state legislative assembly on Thursday, the CAG report -- Performance audit on ‘Contract management in Roads Works (2011-16) -- found irregularities at all stages of tendering process and contract management.

lucknow Updated: Jul 28, 2017 15:11 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
CAG,Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,Public works department
Total length of the road in UP: 2,03,457 km .(HT Photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government has not only failed to enforce road safety measures but has also committed irregularities in the construction of roads, according to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

CAG FINDINGS--Sorry State of Affairs
  • Cartel formation/collusive bidding found in a large number of cases.
  • Tendering in road works not competitive.
  • Contractors were to provide insurance cover of Rs 7,535 crore for 2,953 contract bonds. None of the contractors provided insurance cover.
  • Quality testing of road works was not carried out in many divisions.
  • Normal items used in works approved by government were excluded from tendering.
  • Several road construction works executed without tenders and payments were made as extra-items under contracts for other works.
  • The existing framework of rules and procedures have serious gaps and are not consistent with best practices.

Tabled in the state legislative assembly on Thursday, the CAG report -- Performance audit on ‘Contract management in Roads Works (2011-16) -- found irregularities at all stages of tendering process and contract management.

“Basic norms for road design and cost estimation were not adhered to,” it said.

“The road construction was executed by the public works department (PWD) through contractors. During 2011-16, the state government spent Rs 40,854.63 crore on construction and maintenance of various roads, excluding those constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,” the report said.

“About 77% of the fund was utilised on widening/strengthening of existing roads and remaining on construction of new roads,” it added.

In another report tabled in the assembly on July 21, the CAG had pointed out how the state government had ignored road safety norms that led to spurt in road accidents.

During the audit, it was found that the tendering process of PWD for road construction lacked transparency and competition.

A large number of contractors who did not meet the minimum technical requirements qualified technical evaluation and there were clear indications of collusive bidding in major contracts in most of the districts, it said.

The CAG said the government instructions to check the use of construction material from illegal mining were not complied with. “Concessions and undue benefits to contractors were rampant and there was complete neglect of the need to ensure quality of roads and protect government interest,” the report added.

The CAG also found large scale violation of Indian Road Congress specification and norms in design and construction of roads in UP. “In 88% of the work, soil testing was not carried out, quality of pavement construction was not assessed and no deflection tests were conducted. Widening of roads was done without conducting traffic census in violation of IRC norms,” it said.

Norms were not followed, which made the entire process of road design and cost estimation non-transparent, with the risk of construction of sub-standard roads, incorrect cost estimation, loss to government and undue favour to contractors, the report pointed out.

Road safety audits were not conducted in majority of the roads, it added.

The report said executive engineers exceeded their delegated powers of sanctioning Rs 40 lakh per work and accorded technical sanctions to 215 works worth Rs 217.23 crore in 14 districts.

Read more| Rise in road accidents: Poor implementation of safety norms in UP, says CAG report

In 96 works, tenders were issued by superintending engineers (SEs) before administrative approval or financial sanction by the state government.

In violation of the basic tendering rules, the SEs issued technical sanction for 156 works worth Rs 4,184.74 crore and opened financial bids for 105 works worth Rs 3,333.61 crore.

In 2007, the state government introduced reforms in tendering procedures to increase transparency, competition and check involvement of anti-social elements in tendering process of public works. During audit, the CAG found reforms were not implemented and anti-social elements grabbed contracts.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 15:11 IST