Two months after the Cabinet approved the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial project in the Arabian Sea, the General Administration Department (GAD) and Public Works Department (PWD) are caught in a tussle over “mobilisation advance” to be paid to the project’s contractor.
Sources said the PWD has proposed to pay Rs 70 crore as mobilisation advance to the contractor following the Cabinet decision. The PWD’s proposal was sent to the GAD by the finance department, said an official. “The GAD noted that Rs 7 crore should be given as advance instead of Rs 70 crore. But, the finance department then asked the GAD to transfer the budgetary provision to the PWD, saying the GAD has no role in the matter following the Cabinet decision,” said an official.
On November 1, the Cabinet gave approval to the estimated cost of Rs 3,700 crore for the project. In financial year 2018-19, the government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 300 crore for the project, of which Rs 64 lakh have been spent so far.
An official from the GAD said the Cabinet decision clearly said all project-related work would be handled by the PWD. “Now, we are ready to transfer the entire amount to the PWD but it is insisting that it is the GAD that should disburse the first installment. It would not be proper to do so,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
GAD officials said the PWD’s refusal to take charge of the budgetary provision appears to be based on the series of false starts and controversies that the project has run into. PWD Secretary Ajit Sagane did not respond to calls and messages.