Mumbai: CAG finds serious irregularities in CIDCO projects

Updated: 05 March, 2020 08:00 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

CAG reviews infrastructure projects, including three major ones, accuses CIDCO of not adhering to plan

Incorporated in 1970 as a state-owned company, the CIDCO undertakes developmental works, provides social and physical infrastructure, mainly in Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas. File pic
Incorporated in 1970 as a state-owned company, the CIDCO undertakes developmental works, provides social and physical infrastructure, mainly in Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas. File pic

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its 2018 report has cited serious strictures against the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the infrastructure planning and executing agency for Navi Mumbai. The report was tabled by Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday.

In its report, CAG has accused CIDCO of inadequate planning, not carrying out proper surveys and feasibility study, failing to make realistic estimates prior to tendering the works and giving works to inexperienced contractors, causing huge losses.

It has further blamed the agency for cost escalations and inordinate delay in executing mega projects such as Navi Mumbai Metro Rail (NMMR), Mass Housing Scheme (MHS) in Kharghar, Nerul-Uran Railway (NUR), coastal road and Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).

CAG reviewed the three major projects – NMMR, NUR and MHS and other infra projects worth R4,459 crore and said the corporation's works in major projects did not emerge out of a systematic and comprehensive plan.

"CIDCO did not prepare any long, medium or short-term plans for infrastructure works. Instead the proposals were sanctioned on a case to case basis. The corporation did not maintain a database on existing infrastructure and future infrastructure work to be taken up to facilitate systematic and objective planning," the report says.

It states the NUR Phase-1 was delayed from 2015 to 2018 because there was a delay in appointing consultants and lack of synchronisation in various activities. The stations are yet to be completed and Phase-2 is still in progress and that the work order for rail overbridge (ROB) at Dronagiri had to be stopped to avoid a gas pipeline under the foundation after an expenditure of R67 lakh. BPCL held up the work on anther ROB because of the pipeline. The ROB was built in February 2019, but not opened for traffic before the auditors visited it in August.

Disputing the awarding of works, CAG said that six contracts of R890 crore went to the contractors who did not have minimum prescribed experience while the existing contractors were given additional works (R69 crore) without inviting tenders in violation of guidelines on tendering and transparency. In seven contracts of above R15 crore bidders were selected casually, while in NMIA, R22 crore was paid to the contractor for using material like rocks that were available for free after cutting the hill.

CAG reported the matter to the State in November 2018 and waited for a reply till March 2019. It has recommended major changes to CIDCO's work culture to expedite projects on economic cost and said the agency needed to have proper coordination with other departments and agencies to avoid delay at the planning stage. It said CIDCO should ensure wide publicity to its tendering for encouraging competitive participation and prepare a comprehensive database of contractors including global players.

The report further says that CIDCO should implement its laid down policy for tendering and award of work to ensure transparency. It suggested that the payments to the contractors may be made strictly as per the terms of contract and extension of time limit may be allowed only after recording justified grounds for delay.

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First Published: 05 March, 2020 07:45 IST

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