By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Audit) has unearthed what could be considered a major scam of Rs 3.19 crore which was avoidable infructuous expenditure for the construction of the of divide walls in the (2X24) MW Myntdu-Leshka Hydro Electric Project (MLHEP).
As per the interim report, the work for the construction of dam and appurtenant work of the MLHEP including diversion channel, divide wall and upstream & downstream cofferdam was awarded to Sew Construction Limited, Hyderabad in March 2004 at the total contract value of Rs 27.81 crore
But change in foundation level due to geological problem led to increase in number of blocks, earth works, etc. As a result the value of the work increased to Rs 217.35 crores.
According to the report, there was no provision for divide walls in the original specifications and drawings and hence estimation of concrete and reinforcement for bucket has been carried out accordingly.
“However divide walls were introduced in the execution drawings by Central Water Commission (CWC) based on the recommendation of the Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune and the buckets for block 11,12,13 and 14 were cast with four layers of bucket reinforcement,” the report said.
After incurring expenditure of Rs 3.19 crore for construction of divide walls and reinforcement of bucket in four layers, the project authority took up the matter with the CWC to take a second look at the work as it involved huge costs and the entire project had to be completed at a revised estimate of Rs 671.29 crores.
This matter was discussed in the CWC and it was decided that any maintenance work at the immediate downstream of the dam could be undertaken only during the dry season and the proposal for distribution of the spilled water for maintenance purpose through the provision of the costly divide walls based on model study would be omitted.
Although the CWC recommended divide walls based on model study, any modification from the original estimates involving huge cost requires the preparation of revised estimates by the project authority and getting it approval by the members of the Board. But this was not done. “Inadequate study before initiating action for construction of divide wall resulted in avoidable expenditure of Rs 3.19 Crore since provision of divide wall has subsequently been withdrawn considering huge cost for concreting and consumption of huge quantity of steel for reinforcement,” the interim report added.