Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Audit watchdog pulls up Sikkim PHE dept

GANGTOK, April 26 – Sikkim Water Security and Public Health Engineering (PHE) department has come under the scanner of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the recently submitted audit report in the Budget session of the State Assembly.
The CAG report elaborated that the Ministry for Development of the Northeast Region (DoNER) had sanctioned Rs 17 crores in December 2006, and relased Rs 16.50 crores between January 2007-February 2008, to the PHE department for the implementation of the Augmentation of Water Supply for Greater Rangpo, East Sikkim. The completion of the project was set for December 2008, on basis of 90 per cent grants and 10 per cent from the Centre.

There was the civil works component relating to the construction of various structures and procurement of pipes, fittings, and tapping water from the Rangpo Khola, 24 kms upstream from the treatment plant located at Rangpo.

The civil work was put to tender on March 2007, supply orders for pipes and fittings were simultaneously placed during Feb-March 2007, it added. Before completion of the civil works and supplies, the department moved in December 2007, a major proposal for revision of the project, that inter-alia incorporated shifting of the intake point to a location further 12.9 kms upstream of the original site, the report said.

The reason cited by the PHE department was the GATI infrastructure site, due to which water could not be sourced. The revised cost for the project was worked out to be Rs 24.26 crores, which exceeded the original sanctioned by DoNER to the tune of Rs 7.26 crores.

The Department in July 2008, through the State Planning and Development department submitted to DoNER, for sanction of the additional amount.

The project was stalled in August 2010 due to fund pending from the DoNER. The CAG report pointed out that GATI was assigned the Chuzachen power project on the same water source much earlier; the PHE should have coordinated with the Power department regarding source tapping.

The CAG pulled up the department for absence of proper planning that led to inordinate delay in completion of the scheme, cost escalation of Rs 72.60 lakhs and wasteful expenditure of Rs 52.67 lakhs.

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