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Running late,Metro downed testing requirements in Phase-I,says CAG

A comptroller and Auditor General audit report has found that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation scaled down testing requirements in four contracts as these were falling behind schedule.

A comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report has found that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation scaled down testing requirements in four contracts as these were falling behind schedule.

The CAG performance audit report of 2008,for DMRC’s Phase-I projects,also found flaws in the bidding process. The audit report (no PA 17 of 2008) was tabled in Lok Sabha on Friday.

But a DMRC official said the CAG’s observations pertain to Phase-I and have “no connection with the ongoing Phase-II constructions”.

A N Chatterjee,Deputy CAG (Commercial),said,“Presentation of the report was delayed by a year as the Ministry of Urban Development did not know whether it was responsible for tabling it. We sent them the report last year and also left reminders but they returned the report,suggesting inclusion of their response to the report.

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“This is unconstitutional and unprecedented — we have not incorporated their response in the report as CAG is an independent body.”

About DMRC scaling down testing requirements in four contracts,as noted by the report,Chatterjee said: “The management said testing was relaxed since welding was being done by computerised submerged arc welding modern machines. (DMRC also said that) As per past experience,no pile had failed in load test,so lateral test was not conducted in a particular contract.

“But this reply is not tenable because we possess a letter by the contractor to DMRC which points out that the testing was reduced on the contractor’s request to expedite activities at the plant.”

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The contractor’s letter also said some tests should be “done away with when the contract fell behind schedule”,according to Chatterjee.

The report also says DMRC has not been put under direct control of any administrative ministry. “This model,” the report points out,“presents ambiguity relating to coordination and control by the executive government and the proper forum for legislative accountability.”

The bidding process was also found to have flaws: out of 13 “design and construct” contracts reviewed in seven cases,the estimates were revised or approved after the opening of financial bids,the CAG report says.

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The official said,“There is no ambiguity in coordination and control — the Centre and state governments take care of their part of legislation and provide support. DMRC is also fully subject to legislative accountability. Many parliamentary committees have appraised issues relating to different disciplines of DMRC.

“Tabling of Phase Audit Reports by CAG,Annual Reports as well as the Performance Audit in the Parliament is a testimony to the fact that DMRC is subject to legislative accountability.”

The CAG report is based on test-check of DMRC records; a team from IIT-Delhi was engaged as technical consultant to assist in examining certain technical matters relating to performance report,it was pointed out.

Other faults found
* Lack of a corporate plan
* Delay in completion of three Phase-I lines
* Fewer passengers than expected due to high fare structure and lack of proper connectivity
* Inability to provide automatic train operations on all lines to ensure safer operations.
* Acquisition of land in excess of project requirement
* No provision for levy of any monetary penalty on contractors for failing to carry out contract terms for design
* Cases of granting advances not provided in contracts,short-recovery from contractors and payment of inadmissible claims

(As per CAG report)

First published on: 18-07-2009 at 01:12:53 am
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