Misappropriation of funds in desilting SWDs comes to light

TVCC unearths overestimation, unreal figures in silt removal

Misappropriation of funds in desilting SWDs comes to light

A probe by the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) of the BBMP has revealed misappropriation of funds by the Palike officers in desilting stormwater drains in the City.

Following a resolution passed by the BBMP Council on September 29, 2014, the TVCC started investigating 45 works worth Rs 9 crore, taken up by the stormwater drain division of the Palike in six BBMP zones. While overestimation resulted in a loss of Rs 1.75 crore, the Palike lost at least Rs 25 lakh more due to the unreal figures of silt removal, revealed the probe. The vigilance cell found the sketches were missing from the estimates and no cross section and longitude sections were mentioned anywhere. The engineers failed to show the dismantling of size stones and masonry mentioned in the estimate.

The Palike engineers used the Schedule of Rates of Minor Irrigation Department, known as MISR in Palike parlance. MISR implied that the works would be done manually without using machines, whereas the Palike officials extensively used machines. In fact, very less labourers were employed to execute the work.

An officer, who investigated the matter, told Deccan Herald that the total silt removed on paper was 1.54 lakh cubic metres, which meant that a 10-acre area was filled to the height of at least 15 feet, which is highly unlikely. “When we asked the executive engineers to show the place where the silt is dumped, they didn't have a satisfactory answer,” said the officer.

Further, the approved amount in the estimate was Rs 6.29 crore but when the TVCC engineers worked out the estimate, it amounted only to Rs 4.54 crore. “This way, Rs 1.75 crore was excess in the estimate itself,” the officer said.

The executive engineers got the work orders issued at Yelahanka, Bommanahalli and Koramangala valleys based on the Letter of Intent, which is banned by the Karnataka High Court.
The lead chart to measure the distance and work was not approved by any competent authority. The TVCC also observed that the SWD engineers hired project management consultant, which was unnecessary and unscientific too.

Another area where the Palike suffered loss was miscellaneous items, which should not exceed 1.5 per cent to two per cent. But the Palike engineers reserved funds for miscellaneous items between 13.37 per cent to 22.56 per cent.

The TVCC observed: “Even though the tender premium was 25.22 per cent, the SWD engineers took approval for 9.22 per cent. The engineers hid the fact from the competent authorities and took approval of works from the Commissioner.”

At certain places, the tender premium was deflated. For example, in East Zone of the BBMP, the tender premium was actually (+)1.72 per cent but the engineers showed that the premium was minus 11.52 per cent (-11.52%), projecting that the BBMP would benefit. However, the Palike suffered the loss of about 10 per cent in the tender premium itself.

The other irregularities were that the vehicles transporting silt did not have the GPS as mandated in the tender condition and the officials did not show the dumping point. The TVCC has recommended action against the erring engineers and recovery of an excess Rs 2 crore if the payment has been made.

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