J P GUPTA
New Delhi: Believe it or not, but it is true. The Jharkhand government has built a stadium without a playground at a cost of Rs 1.28 crore! And what is more surprising is that the executing agency now needs Rs 1.24 crore more for making the playground and protection wall to accord the fractured construction a status of stadium. The fresh estimates for it were submitted in January 2018 i.e., after more than eight years of sanction of the original estimate, and it was again gathering dust in the corridors of state bureaucracy, for reasons unknown.
This lapse on the part of the state government was pointed out in a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) submitted to the government in August this year. The report said unfruitful expenditure on construction of stadium without the play-ground due to deficient technical sanction resulted in unfruitful expenditure of Rs 1.28 crore on the idle structures. The site verification report, if any, was not furnished to CAG audit team, when they asked for it.
Rule 126 of Jharkhand Public Works Department (JPWD) code stipulates that technical sanction (TS) amounts to a guarantee that the estimates are accurately calculated and based on adequate data. JPWD code further provides that an estimate should include a site report detailing the condition of the proposed site and confirmation that it is suitable for the purpose.
According to CAG documents, construction of an outdoor stadium at Technical College, Garhwa was administratively approved (AA) in December 2008 for Rs 1.08 crore by the Department of Art, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Jharkhand and technically sanctioned in July 2009 by the Chief Engineer (CE), Rural Development Special Zone, Ranchi for Rs 1.10 crore.
The Executive Engineer (EE), Rural Development Special Division No.2, Garhwa was nominated (March 2009) by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Garhwa as executing agency for the construction work which included construction of playground (preparation of the field by landscaping and levelling), pavilion building, gallery, boundary walls and water supply and electrification.
Upon tendering (August 2009), the work valued at Rs 1.06 crore was awarded (January 2010) to a contractor with the stipulation to complete the work by April 2011. Audit observed (December 2017 and May 2019) from the records of the division that the proposed construction site was strewn with rocks.
However, neither the EE who prepared (July 2009) the estimate nor the CE who granted technical sanction (TS) to the estimate worked out the quantity of rocks required to be extracted from the site to level the ground. Only a meagre lump-sum amount of Rs 0.22 lakh was provided in the estimate for removing the rocks. Thus, the EE and the CE failed to comply with the provisions of JPWD code.
Resultantly, the contractor could not commence (October 2019) work of landscaping and levelling of the playground area and only completed (July 2012) the pavilion building, gallery and boundary walls (partially) at a cost of Rs 1.28 crore.
Though the work of removing rocks from the site of the pavilion building and gallery was executed as an extra item and the contractor was paid (March 2013) Rs 32.83 lakh, the work of removing rocks from the playground was not entrusted.
The EE had intimated the Deputy Commissioner, Garhwa in August 2012 and the Department of Art, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs in November 2015 and September 2016 regarding requirement of levelling of the playground. However, a separate estimate of Rs 1.24 crore for the residual work of playground area and protection wall, could be prepared by the EE and submitted for approval to the Department only in January 2018 i.e., after more than eight years of sanction of the original estimate.
Moreover, the revised estimate was not approved till October 2019 by the Department. Thus, Rs 1.28 crore incurred on the idle structures was rendered unfruitful as the stadium could not be put to use without completing the work of the playground.