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CAG flags Bharatmala bidding irregularities | India News

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NEW DELHI: The federal auditor, in its latest report, has found irregularities in award of the government’s flagship Bharatmala highway projects and said that the implementing agencies violated the tendering processes. The violations include successful bidder not fulfilling tender conditions or bidder selected on the basis of falsified documents and award of works without approved detailed project reports (DPRs) or faulty reports.

The report on “Implementation of Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojna”, which was submitted to the Parliament on Thursday, also said the implementing agencies were awarding projects without ensuring availability of required land and forest clearance, which are resulting in delayed commencement and completion of projects. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) are the implementing agencies.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also found deficiencies in the appraisal and approval mechanism proposed to the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) as many of the high cost engineering procurement and construction (EPC) or fully government-funded projects such as the Delhi-Vadodara Expressway and Dwarka Expressway could not be assessed by either CCEA or the highways ministry “to have the advantage of the scrutiny at that level”. It added that even the appraisal and approval mechanism decided by CCEA was not strictly followed.

The CAG has also flagged that the DPRs prepared by consultants were not appraised with due diligence before their approval.
“Instances of adoption of different specifications by contractors or concessionaires at the time of execution of projects than what were prescribed by detailed project report consultants, highlighted the fact that specifications of detailed project reports were not found suitable as per site conditions,” the CAG said.
On the fund management, the auditor also found that only 75.6% of Cabinet approved length has been awarded while 158% of approved financial outlay had been sanctioned till this March end. “This has resulted in sanctioned civil cost being Rs 23.89 crore per km as against the CCEA approved cost of Rs 13.98 crore per km and sanctioned pre-construction cost being Rs 8.28 crore per km as against the CCEA approved cost of Rs 1.39 crore per km,” it said.
While the original cost of the 34,800 km mega highway development programme was Rs 5.4 lakh crore, this has crossed Rs 10 lakh crore due to changes in projects and increase in the share of expressway and economic corridors.
It also said besides increase in requirement of funds, the funds approved for other schemes worth Rs 1.6 lakh crore were being utilised to report the achievement.





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