Explain delay in acting upon CVC report on construction of classrooms in govt schools: Delhi L-G to Chief Secy

Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, V.K. Saxena, has sought a report from the Chief Secretary over the delay of two-and-a-half years on the part of the Vigilance Department to act on the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) inquiry report on construction of additonal classrooms in Delhi government schools.

The CVC report, which found gross irregularities and procedural lapses in the execution of the projects, was sent by the CVC to the Secretary (Vigilance), GNCTD, on February 17, 2020, seeking comments for further investigation or action.

The CVC had received a complaint regarding irregularities and cost overrun in the construction of additional classrooms in Delhi government schools on July 25, 2019.

According to the CVC report, which IANS has accessed, tenders were floated for the works originally proposed and approved. But later, the awarded contract value against the proposals varied from 17 per cent to 90 per cent on account of introduction of richer specifications, service tax requirement of deeper foundation, increase in plinth area, etc.

The cost escalated to the extent of Rs 326.25 crore, which was 53 per cent higher than the awarded amount of the tender. The escalated cost was utilised for the construction of only 4,027 classrooms against 6,133 that were to be constructed.

As per the report, in 194 schools, 1,214 toilets were constructed against the requirement of 160 toilets with extra expenditure of Rs 37 crore (approx).

However, the toilets were alleged counted and projected as classrooms by the Delhi government.

The L-G has taken a serious view of this inordinate delay that appears to be an obvious attempt at covering up gross malpractices pointing towards corruption, apart from violating the relevant clauses of the CVC manual, said a source in the L-G office.

The L-G office had received a complaint enclosing a copy of the CVC communication to the Directorate of Vigilance, GNCTD.

As per the findings of the CVC report, only 4,027 additional classrooms were constructed in 141 schools against assessed requirement of 6,133 classrooms in 194 schools. The average cost of each classroom came to Rs 33 lakh (approx.).

During the inspection, only two rainwater harvesting systems were found in place against the PWD’s claim of 29 such systems. As per the report, the sanctioned amount for these projects was Rs 989.26 crore, the award value of all tenders was Rs 860.63 crore, but the actual expenditure went up to Rs 1,315.57 crore.

No fresh tender was called for carrying out the additional work and implementing richer specifications. These works were carried out by the existing contractors who were working in other schools. The CVC report had flagged gross violation of GFR, CPWD works manual and CVC guidelines.

As per the source, the L-G has recommended detailed investigation into the construction of classrooms and inquiry into the engagement of architect firm M/S Babbar & Babbar Associates.

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