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Large-scale anomalies come to light

By Sivasish thakur
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GUWAHATI, Feb 12 � A departmental inquiry into the charges of anomalies in the implementation of the Rs 100-crore Greater Titabor Piped Water Supply Scheme under Jorhat Public Health Engineering (PHE) Division � the biggest water supply project of the department so far � has detected shocking irregularities and flouting of every possible norm including financial, technical and administrative.

The inquiry revealed that right from selection of contractors from among insufficient numbers of tenders and whose credentials were not up to the desired norms for such a mega project, to the absence of quality control measures at the site, to the abnormally high (as much as 2,824 per cent) revised estimates on various heads, all rules were thrown to the wind.

For example, the revised estimate (Zone-II) on the head �raw water pumping main�, the revised estimate was Rs 3,52,36,215 against the original amount of Rs 12,05,000 � an increase of 2,824.18 per cent. Similarly, on �railway, bridge, culvert, road crossing�, the revised estimated (Zone-I) at Rs 2,00,13,800 was 1,509.99 per cent higher than the original amount of Rs 12,43,100.

Ironically, while the revised estimate was unjustifiably high, the targets in the revised estimates were reduced to a great extent. In Zone-I, the covered population was reduced to 96,300 from 1,26,303; the covered habitation reduced to 227 from 266; covered gaon panchayats (GPs) reduced to 32 from 41; constituents schemes reduced to 32 from 41; renovation of old schemes reduced to 4 from 16; and length of C/W pumping main reduced to 110.5 km from 145.48 km.

In Zone-I, the cost increased by about Rs 16 crore, with the per capita cost rising from Rs 2,813.47 to Rs 5,352.96 � a per cent of 90.26. In Zone-II, the cost increased by about Rs 23 crore, with the per capita cost rising from Rs 2,537.71 crore to Rs 3,776.38 crore � a per cent of 48.81.

The inquiry committee also noted that no calculation of quality estimation on the basis of the survey report and layout diagram of the pipe network was found in support of the procurements made involving crores of rupees.

�Despite repeated requests, the Jorhat PHE Division did not submit any records/drawings/survey report to justify the procurement�the purchase of pipes for C/W pumping main was made before accordance of T/S which violates Assam Financial Rules,� the inquiry report noted.

Moreover, the project proposal had neither any analysis regarding the operation and maintenance cost of the scheme and the subsequently-created infrastructure nor was there any assessment of revenue potential, raising questions over the sustainability of the very scheme.

In addition, the estimates that were submitted for technical sanction were checked for arithmetic calculation only, and �the aspects of technical soundness and economic effectiveness were ignored at all levels.� The detailed estimates for technical sanction of 24 constituent schemes of Zone-II were received by the CE (PHE) on June 25, 2010 and TS were accorded on June 29. �June 26 and 27, 2010 were holidays, and thorough checking of the voluminous detailed estimates for 24 schemes within 2/3 days is next to impossible.�

The report noted that hiring charge of diesel-driven centrifugal pumps at Rs 4,000 effectively works out to Rs 2.68 lakh for the 67 schemes �which can very well take care of purchasing a few new pumps and corresponding fuel cost for trial run process for all the schemes and creating further assets to the department.�

Noting that the depth of pipeline trenches was also found to have violated the relevant specifications throughout the stretch, the report said that no work programme/bar chart etc., were observed at work site, indicating the absence of planning to meet deadlines. No layout diagram of raw water pumping main and clear water pumping main was found during site verification but work was already under way.

Even the selection of the intake point for tapping raw water from the Dayang river was not apt owing to the river�s tendency to wide seasonal variation of course up to the extent of one km.

At places, pipes were seen to run parallel to waste-water drains, exposing the water to possible contamination (both chemical and bacterial).

On the collapsed boundary wall, the report noted that just 5cm-7cm length of column reinforcement was there at the bottom face of the wall posts.

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Large-scale anomalies come to light

GUWAHATI, Feb 12 � A departmental inquiry into the charges of anomalies in the implementation of the Rs 100-crore Greater Titabor Piped Water Supply Scheme under Jorhat Public Health Engineering (PHE) Division � the biggest water supply project of the department so far � has detected shocking irregularities and flouting of every possible norm including financial, technical and administrative.

The inquiry revealed that right from selection of contractors from among insufficient numbers of tenders and whose credentials were not up to the desired norms for such a mega project, to the absence of quality control measures at the site, to the abnormally high (as much as 2,824 per cent) revised estimates on various heads, all rules were thrown to the wind.

For example, the revised estimate (Zone-II) on the head �raw water pumping main�, the revised estimate was Rs 3,52,36,215 against the original amount of Rs 12,05,000 � an increase of 2,824.18 per cent. Similarly, on �railway, bridge, culvert, road crossing�, the revised estimated (Zone-I) at Rs 2,00,13,800 was 1,509.99 per cent higher than the original amount of Rs 12,43,100.

Ironically, while the revised estimate was unjustifiably high, the targets in the revised estimates were reduced to a great extent. In Zone-I, the covered population was reduced to 96,300 from 1,26,303; the covered habitation reduced to 227 from 266; covered gaon panchayats (GPs) reduced to 32 from 41; constituents schemes reduced to 32 from 41; renovation of old schemes reduced to 4 from 16; and length of C/W pumping main reduced to 110.5 km from 145.48 km.

In Zone-I, the cost increased by about Rs 16 crore, with the per capita cost rising from Rs 2,813.47 to Rs 5,352.96 � a per cent of 90.26. In Zone-II, the cost increased by about Rs 23 crore, with the per capita cost rising from Rs 2,537.71 crore to Rs 3,776.38 crore � a per cent of 48.81.

The inquiry committee also noted that no calculation of quality estimation on the basis of the survey report and layout diagram of the pipe network was found in support of the procurements made involving crores of rupees.

�Despite repeated requests, the Jorhat PHE Division did not submit any records/drawings/survey report to justify the procurement�the purchase of pipes for C/W pumping main was made before accordance of T/S which violates Assam Financial Rules,� the inquiry report noted.

Moreover, the project proposal had neither any analysis regarding the operation and maintenance cost of the scheme and the subsequently-created infrastructure nor was there any assessment of revenue potential, raising questions over the sustainability of the very scheme.

In addition, the estimates that were submitted for technical sanction were checked for arithmetic calculation only, and �the aspects of technical soundness and economic effectiveness were ignored at all levels.� The detailed estimates for technical sanction of 24 constituent schemes of Zone-II were received by the CE (PHE) on June 25, 2010 and TS were accorded on June 29. �June 26 and 27, 2010 were holidays, and thorough checking of the voluminous detailed estimates for 24 schemes within 2/3 days is next to impossible.�

The report noted that hiring charge of diesel-driven centrifugal pumps at Rs 4,000 effectively works out to Rs 2.68 lakh for the 67 schemes �which can very well take care of purchasing a few new pumps and corresponding fuel cost for trial run process for all the schemes and creating further assets to the department.�

Noting that the depth of pipeline trenches was also found to have violated the relevant specifications throughout the stretch, the report said that no work programme/bar chart etc., were observed at work site, indicating the absence of planning to meet deadlines. No layout diagram of raw water pumping main and clear water pumping main was found during site verification but work was already under way.

Even the selection of the intake point for tapping raw water from the Dayang river was not apt owing to the river�s tendency to wide seasonal variation of course up to the extent of one km.

At places, pipes were seen to run parallel to waste-water drains, exposing the water to possible contamination (both chemical and bacterial).

On the collapsed boundary wall, the report noted that just 5cm-7cm length of column reinforcement was there at the bottom face of the wall posts.

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