The State Public Works Department (PWD), which has drawn fire for incomplete work of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, has been found equally wanting when it came to construction of buildings for the tribal development department.
While 49.21 per cent of the work that was undertaken for the tribal development department was completed in 2011-12, only 24 per cent of the work undertaken for the year 2012-13 was completed by the PWD.
Tribal Development Minister Madhukar Pichad told this paper that discussion with PWD officials have failed to get the desired results.
The lacklustre performance of the PWD was seen to be in sharp contrast to its performance in completion of projects for other departments.
In 2011-12, the work completed by the PWD for departments other than the tribal development department ranged from 88 to 109 per cent (exceeded target). When it came to departments like social justice, it was 107 per cent of the target, which means the work surpassed the target that was initially set.
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Documents accessed under Right to Information show the budget of the tribal development department was one of the highest amongst ministries.
In 2011-12, for construction of 63 buildings, an amount of Rs 163.30 crore was sanctioned. In 2012-13, of the targeted 83 buildings, only 20 were constructed by the PWD. The slow pace of construction was noted during a customary audit of the PWD undertaken by the Auditor General (AG) of Maharashtra.
“The construction works executed with funds of the Tribal development department, through the PWD, are for giving more benefits to tribal people by way of construction of hostels for tribal students, construction of ashramshalas etc. The non-achievement of target during 2011-12 shows that the tribal people were deprived of such benefits. Further, it was noticed that during 2012-13 (upto January 2013) the target achieved ranged from 0 per cent to 50 per cent in the first nine months of the financial year,” were the AG’s observation about the pace of work.
Pichad expressed his disappointment at PWD’s slow pace of work.
Pointing out that the department itself does not construct the buildings, but awards the work to contractors, he said that PWD officials told him that they were finding it difficult to get contractors to execute works in tribal areas.
“This explanation was not tenable as they get contractors in the same region for other department’s work,” he said. Pichad said that the tribal development department was hampered by its inability to have its own construction wing and has to depend on the PWD to get its work done.
Andhra Pradesh, the minister mentioned, has streamlined working of its tribal development department properly and has its own construction wing. “I have ordered a high power committee to look into the matter and make suitable recommendations,” he said.