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Landscaping at Capitol Complex: Chandigarh horticulture department favoured contractor, says audit  

The report also points out that the department did not work “seriously” while preparing the rough estimates of the project.

punjab Updated: Jan 16, 2018 13:36 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Landscaping,Capitol Complex,Chandigarh horticulture department
Landscaping at the Capitol Complex was carried out by a Sector-40 firm without any scrutiny, says the audit.(HT File )

The Chandigarh accountant general has found several irregularities to “favour” a contractor in allotment and scrutiny of landscaping at the Capitol Complex last year. The horticulture department of the UT administration had allotted the work at a cost of Rs 38 lakh to SSB Contractual Services, Sector 40, in June 2016. It was completed in June 2017.

Scrutiny

The audit report for 2016-17 states the work was executed without any scrutiny of higher authorities. The tender was approved on May 25, 2016, and scrutiny was to be conducted before the commencement of work. Pointing out an irregularity, the report states the approval was given by the superintendent engineer, circle number 2, on October 9, 2017, after the completion of work.

Security deposit

Also, according to clause 1 of the agreement’s general terms and conditions, security deposit at a rate of 5% was to be deducted from running bills of the contractor. However, the horticulture department deducted it at a rate of 2.5%, resulting in Rs 87,000 loss.

The report also points out that the department did not work “seriously” while preparing the rough estimates of the project. The rough estimates of the works amounted to Rs 48 lakh, while the tender was finalised for Rs 38 lakh and the bills approved were for Rs 35 lakh, leading to a difference of Rs 13 lakh.

Bank guarantee

The contractor was also to furnish the guarantee from a nationalised bank valid up to the period of completion of work. At Rs 1.87 lakh, it was valid up to June 30, 2017, and was released after six months of work completion. However, the final bill was approved on October 10, 2017, and the bank guarantee was not revalidated, in contravention of the government instructions, the report states.

Labour licence

Also, according to clause 11 of the agreement, the contractor was to be submit a licence issued by the labour department. After submitting one that was valid up to June 30, 2016, the contractor did not provide a renewed licence in contravention of the terms and conditions.

Jarnail Singh Saini, executive engineer, horticulture, said: “I am not aware of it as the work was allotted before I joined this office. I will look into it.”

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 13:35 IST