MC dept ‘favours’ pri­vate com­pany

Firm ben­e­fits to the tune of crore

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Hil­lary Vic­tor hil­lary.vic­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

CHANDIGARH: The pub­lic health de­part­ment of the Chandigarh mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion has al­legedly pre­pared “in­flated” de­tailed no­tice invit­ing ten­ders to favour a pri­vate firm to tune of Rs 3 crore for the project of lay­ing of 600-mm mild steel pipe over a dis­tance of nearly 15 km for water sup­ply from Sec­tor-39 wa­ter­works to Chandi­mandir can­ton­ment in 2008.

Though the work on the project be­gan in 2009, it is yet to be com­pleted. The mat­ter came to light af­ter an au­dit report of ac­coun­tant gen­eral, Chandigarh, was re­leased re­cently. MC vig­i­lance of­fi­cer Lalit Si­wach, who is also con­duct­ing a probe since May, is yet to give a report on the scam.

The au­dit report al­leged that civic body of­fi­cials favoured Spun Pipe Con­struc­tion Com­pany by in­flat­ing the project cost, ben­e­fit­ing the pri­vate firm to the tune of Rs 3 crore.

The report re­vealed that the de­part­ment hy­po­thet­i­cally worked out price of Rs 58 per kg for 6mm mild steel sheet to be used for the pipe, though was Rs 34 per kg as per Steel Author­ity of In­dia (SAI) rates pre­vail­ing at that time.

Since 6mm mild steel pipe weighs 97 kg per me­tre, given the dis­tance to be cov­ered by the pipe­line, the dif­fer­ence was Rs 2,038 per me­tre. For the 15-km pipe­line, the over­pay­ment thus came to over Rs 3 crore. The report also ques­tioned as to why a sin­gle ten­der was ac­cepted in the first two in­stances.

In 2008, mil­i­tary engi­neers ser­vices (MES) had re­quested the Chandigarh MC to pre­pare es­ti­mate for sup­ply of ad­di­tional 3 mil­lion gal­lon water daily to Chandi­mandir from Ka­jauli wa­ter­works. The MC pub­lic health de­part­ment pre­pared the project report and es­ti­mated the cost at Rs 40 crore.

Hin­dus­tan Times, in its report on April 23, had high­lighted the is­sue. Fol­low­ing a de­bate in the MC House on April 30, mayor Raj Bala Ma­lik formed a com­mit­tee. When the com­mit­tee held its first meet­ing on May 22, chair­man Sub­hash Chawla submitted his res­ig­na­tion on the ground that he was feel­ing “suf­fo­cated”.

Later in May, the MC House ap­proved a vig­i­lance in­quiry into the scam. MC vig­i­lance of­fi­cer Lalit Si­wach was asked to sub­mit a report by June, but it is still awaited.

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