Monorail project: CAG raps MMRDA for irregularities

“Delay in ensuring timely remedial action by the contractor may aggravate the defects and deficiencies in the non-conformance report,” the CAG report said.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 11, 2015 1:15 am
monorail-main The report said that after the first consultant was dropped due to being blacklisted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), MMRDA hired Louis Berger Group without inviting fresh tenders. (Source: Express photo)

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has come down heavily on the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), pointing out several irregularities in the Rs 2,700-crore Mumbai monorail, like non-transparency in certain aspects, violations of contract conditions, and issues with the quality of construction.

The report says that the monorail contractor, a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Scomi Engineering, were as of November 2014, which was when the audit was concluded, yet to comply with 21 defects that were pointed out in the construction quality between May 2010 and January 2014. A total of 426 such non-conformance reports were raised before the contractor for defects from May 2010 to January 2014.

The defects that the consultant had pointed out include major cracks on the bottom portion of platform slabs at various stations, cracks and leakages at at the station track-level slabs, leakages in the wall of the operation centre, and large bug holes on several guideway beams, on which the monorail runs.

“Delay in ensuring timely remedial action by the contractor may aggravate the defects and deficiencies in the non-conformance report,” the CAG report said.

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The CAG has indicated non-transparency in fixing the final project cost and the appointment of consultant. The consultant, Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), which the report says was engaged without inviting global tenders, had given an initial estimate of Rs 1,539 crore for the 20-km Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail, while the contract was ultimately awarded for Rs 2,716 crore. The MMRDA justified this, saying there was no benchmark for costs as this was the country’s first monorail, as per the report.

The report said that after the first consultant was dropped due to being blacklisted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), MMRDA hired Louis Berger Group without inviting fresh tenders.

The report pointed out that the contractor has failed to deliver on certain contract conditions, mainly having a waste water treatment plant for treating waste after washing and maintenance in the depot, as a result of which MMRDA is discharging untreated foul water into the municipal sewer. It said the contractor did not provide a simulator in the depot for training of drivers despite agreeing to in the contract.

The CAG report has also rapped the Public Works Department (PWD) for anomalies in tendering and quality monitoring after a detailed study of 11 road works, undertaken as public-private-partnerships, together costing nearly Rs 3,000 crore. The projects were approved for implementation under the erstwhile Congress-NCP government, with PWD wrested with the latter.The report pointed out the department did not issue tender forms to all prospective bidders in the Sion-Panvel highway and the Chinchoti-Kaman-Anju Phata-Mankoli road.

Other observations

Scrutiny of five thermal power stations of the state power generation company, with an installed capacity of 6,730 MW between 2010-11 to 2013-14, showed that avoidable delays in completing overhauls led to loss of 513.11 million units of generation. Preventive maintenance was not as per manual, resulting in loss of generation of 1,177.29 million units, while a delay in repair or replacement of equipments further caused a generation loss of 1,722.27 million units.

MHADA suffered a financial burden of Rs 262.65 crore due to non-revision of service charges since 1993-94 for providing common services to tenants.

18 of the 64 working public sector units, including the state electricity distribution company and MSRDC incurred losses amounting to Rs 1,362.83 crore during 2013-14. The state government is yet to pay MSRDC’s claims of Rs 1,795 crore for closing eight toll stations along Nagpur-Aurangabad-Sinnar-Ghoti-Mumbai highway.

Eight government organisations awarded contracts together worth Rs 18.47 crore for informational technology-enabled services to Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd, a non-government entity, without calling for tenders.

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