Payments made for ‘no work’ in Nagaland — CAG
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Feb.19 (EMN): The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed in its report for the year ended March 31, 2018 that out of 378 prioritised North Eastern Council (NEC)-funded projects in Nagaland during 2013-18, only 142 were retained based on feasibility.
Out of the 142 projects retained by NEC, only 97 (68 per cent) were approved during 2013-18. Regarding the remaining 45 projects, 12 were not approved on grounds of delay in submission of DPRs, non-furnishing of clarification sought by NEC and delay in completion of ongoing projects etc.; 16 were declared “put on hold” to clear the liabilities against ongoing projects; three were dropped; five were approved (June 2018) for execution during 2018-19, and the status of other nine projects was awaited from NEC (March 2018), the report stated.
The records of 34 projects revealed diversion of INR 13.19 crore towards payment of inadmissible items such as work-charged wages, departmental charges and components not provided in the administrative approval/approved DPR in 14 projects (41 per cent) implemented by seven departments. As a result, 14 projects were deprived of funds to that extent, thereby adversely affecting the completion of projects.
Longding-Nokjan road project
According to the report, the NEC sanctioned construction of road from Longding-Nokjan in Mon district for INR 49.13 crore and the department awarded the work to M/s. MS Panesar and Sons, Dimapur, for INR 48.17 crore and it was stipulated to be completed by March 2015. The government of Nagaland (GoN) submitted a revised DPR for INR 54.45 crore on grounds of additional works caused by landslides (13 to 46.35 km), which was approved by the NEC for INR 54.18 crore.
Records revealed that NEC released its share of INR 48.76 crore and the state government also released its share of INR 5.42 crore to the Executive Engineer (EE), Mon division. The work was reported as “completed” as in January 2014 and the contractor was paid INR 52.70 crore. However, the contractor did not execute six items of works valued at INR 13.80 crore after being paid for execution of all the items of work, stated the report.
“Thus, the department made excess payment of INR 13.80 crore to the contractor for unexecuted items of works by recording fictitious entries in the MBs,” read the report. The government claimed that the excess amount paid was actually INR 2.35 crore and not as mentioned by the CAG but did not furnish any documents in support of its contention, it added.
Construction of Viswema-Kidima-Zuketsa-Tadubi road (36.40 km) estimated at INR 65.27 crore was sanctioned by the NEC in August 2010 and the then state government submitted a revised DPR for INR 80.00 crore which was approved. The work order awarded to M/s T Tachu and Co and M/s Vilelie Khamo was also enhanced (November 2013) from INR 63.99 crore to INR 78.43 crore due to additional works such as changes in alignment of the road, preparation of sub-grade, five 6m span RCC slab culvert and 80m RCC counterfort wall in sinking zone, changes in structural design and drawings of RCC bridges.
The CAG report revealed that NEC released its share of INR 71.99 crore to the state, and Nagaland government too released its share of INR 7.34 crore to the two divisions. Against the total release of NR 79.33 crore, an amount of INR 3.20 crore was deducted by the department of Finance towards departmental charges/work charge, purchase of vehicle (INR 0.12 crore), consultancy charge (INR 0.15 crore), construction of security fencing (INR 0.11 crore) and INR 75.63 crore was utilised against the project. There was an unspent balance of INR 12 lakh and the states’ share amount of INR 66 lakh was not released (September 2018).
The project was reported as completed (February 2015) and closed by NEC. The contractor did not execute works for INR 4.42 crore, whereas payment was made for the execution of the complete items of works. This resulted in excess payment of INR 4.42 crore without actual execution of five items of works. The government stated (December 2018) that all the five RCC slab culverts and 25 HP culverts had been constructed which could be verified at the site.
Nursing School at Naga Hospital, Kohima
The project — upgrading and infrastructure development of Nursing School at Naga Hospital, Kohima, Nagaland — estimated at INR 2.26 crore was sanctioned by the NEC for construction of Nursing Hostel and procurement of laboratories equipment/ charts/ models etc. to be completed by March 2013. The work for construction of the hostel was awarded to M/s Klas Enterprises for INR 87 lakh stipulated to be completed by October 2013.
The CAG report revealed that NEC released INR 2.04 crore to the state and GoN in turn released INR 1.11 crore (including its share of INR 0.11 crore) to the Medical Engineering Division, Kohima. Out of the amount released, INR 87 lakh was paid to the contractor for the construction of the nursing hostel. NEC closed the project in February 2018 due to delay in completion of the project for more than three years from the scheduled date of completion, it stated.
The delays in completion were attributed to land dispute and delay in the release of funds by the state government. However, the hostel building was constructed while the NEC closed the project. Joint inspection revealed that nine items of work of the nursing hostel for INR 24 lakh recorded in the MB as executed, were actually not executed. It was also observed that instead of utilising the nursing hostel for its intended purpose, it was utilised by the School of Nursing, Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK), as its administrative office, faculty room and laboratories.
There was no student intake in the School of Nursing, NHAK, during 2017-18 due to shortage of hostel accommodation as the existing girl’s hostel (intake capacity-40 students) was inadequate to meet the requirement. Thus, the building constructed was utilised for purposes other than for which the project was sanctioned. Besides, INR 24 lakh paid to the contractor without execution of nine items of works needed to be recovered, the CAG report stated.