Jal Board denies allegations: Assembly panel asks DJB questions on funds and land

The Committee on Estimates has found that the tenders had been awarded without two “essential” requirements

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2017 5:08:11 am
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The committee on Estimates of the Delhi Assembly, which is probing alleged irregularities in the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) related to three projects amounting to Rs 777 crore, has singled out two questions about the projects being awarded — was it done without land being available and without the board’s approval on who would fund the projects, said sources. The DJB has denied the allegations.

The mandate of the Committee on Estimates, chaired by AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya, is to examine the details and technical aspects of the estimates of various departments for better financial control of the House over the expenditure by the Executive.

The Assembly panel has been probing alleged irregularities in three projects pertaining to 14 STPs, being set up to clean the Najafgarh & supplementary drains under Phase-1 of ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan 2017’ that have been taken up after directions from the National Green Tribunal in 2015. Sources maintained that documents being perused by the committee indicate that of the 19 projects, there are only 10 locations where land is “alloted and under possession (of) DJB”.

In two locations — Kakrola and Kajipur — land is partially available and private land is to be acquired. Sources added that joint survey was being done by the land and building department of the Delhi government along with Land Acquisition Collectors (LAC). At another location, Dichaon Kalan, sources said, “insufficient land (25%) of the total requirements” has been allotted while the rest is “under litigation”.

The committee has found that at the time, the tenders had been awarded without two “essential” requirements — the possession of land by the agency and “letters of the administrative approval and financial sanction from NMCG & Ministry of Urban Development”, sources added.

DJB, however, denied both charges. A DJB source said, “The sanction from the Centre has been received for which we will get money from next week. The land issue is routine, when you acquire land, more often than not, there are litigations that follow.” The initial allegation, being probed by the committee, is that of the 14 STPs, “officers of the DJB have not been able to furnish the requisite documents that show that the tender was given for the project to a private company while following due process”.

The Indian Express has learnt that the work order for the projects, dated May 31, 2017, states that the board considered the proposal on August 28, 2016, and resolved in its 128th meeting the next day… to award the work in favour of a company that had won the tender at a cost of Rs 776.7 crore with funding from NMCG. It is also learnt that an NGT order on March 14, 2017, had confirmed that seven STPs were approved by the Ministry of Water Resources, and would be financed by the NMCG.

The NGT also ordered that in relation to the remaining seven projects of STPs, the DJB shall commence its work without any delay from its own budget. Consequently, Letters of Intent were issued on April 21, 2017, after seeking in-principle approval of CEO, DJB, it is learnt.

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