The Comptroller and Auditor General has raised serious questions about use of prefabricated steel frames imported from China for construction of the ‘Signature’ bridge across the Yamuna in East Delhi which is modelled on the famous London Bridge.
In a draft report,the CAG has objected to procurement of steel frames from China in violation of contractual norms and said the Delhi government agency implementing the project does not have any mechanism to check quality of material and fabrication work being done in China.
The CAG has also slammed Delhi government for escalation of the cost of the project by Rs 672 crore against the initial estimate.
The government in March 2006 had estimated a total cost of Rs 459 crore for construction of the bridge which went up to Rs 1,131 crore when the project was finalised in February 2010. The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) is executing the Rs 1,131-crore project,which is expected to be completed by mid-2014.
On procurement of materials from China,the auditor said that as per the contractual agreement,fabrication and assembling of steel frames and pylons were to be carried out in three selected fabrication workshops or in similar steel assembling factories with approval from the engineer-in-charge of the project. However,the auditor said,the contractor,Gammon-Constutora-Tensacciai,violated the norm by procuring them procured them from the neighbouring country.
The contract was awarded to Gammon-Constutora-Tensacciai in 2010.
Designed as a replica of the London bridge,the 575-metre long and 175-metre-high bridge will have bow-shaped pylon with cables. To be suspended on cables,the bridge will have two approaches the Eastern Approach and the Western Approach. It will link NH-1 on the western bank of Yamuna with Wazirabad on eastern bank of the river.
It is the primary responsibility of the DTTDC to ensure quality of the material being used in the bridge. This aspect was compromised as DTTDC had no mechanism of its own to ensure quality of material and work being done in China, the draft report said.
In its reply,the DTTDC said the CAG inferred wrongly that only Indian workshops were to be engaged for fabrication of steel component and informed the auditor that contractor had hired a firm to ascertain quality of material imported from China.
The reply was silent on purchase of steel from China, the CAG said.