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The cosntruction of phase I of Ahmedabd Metro Rail project has been questionned now by a high-powered committee of the Gujarat assembly for monitoring public sector enterprises (PSEs). The commiteein which has recently submitted its report before the state assembly, has noted irregularities worth Rs 1,168 crore in the implemenattion of the Ahmedabad Metro Rail project.
"The committee headed by former minister Babu Bokhiriya, has recommended recovery of Rs 1,168 crore from the accused and initiating strict action against those involved in futile expenditure and irregularities in the metro rail project," reported TOI.
"The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) in its 2014-15 report scrutinised MEGA’s financial and actual performance. The Gujarat government, in 2005 envisioned to start a Delhi-like metro rail service between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. In 2010, Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (formerly known as MEGA company) was formed to start the metro rail service. The first draft project report (DPR) was approved in December 2012 and revised estimate of Rs 15,789 crore was made," said in the report submitted by PSE Commitee.
“However, before the high-powered committee approved the DPR, the MEGA company started making major purchases and issuing work orders without any due process at very exaggerated rates. Rs 584 crore worth 1,868 work orders (June 2011 to September 2013), moreover, total 672 work orders worth Rs 201 crore were also issued without prior permission at higher rates. Even before the central and state government sanctioned the projects in addition to these, 1,196 work orders worth Rs 383 crore were made for land filling, casting and other work,” the report stated.
The Phase I of Ahmedabad Metro Rail project was implemented under the supervison of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The PSE committee noted that set government processes were not followed in issuing work orders.
“When the government realised in various inquiries that the chairman at that time and 43 other contractual workers were involved in the major financial and other irregularities, the government terminated all persons and initiated action against them,” the report said. Two complaints had been filed with the CID alleging of misappropriation of government funds worth Rs 115 crore.
“There are many allegations of giving non-required work at too high rates. A total of 22 other cases in arbitration is ongoing. Since the new management took over, no irregularities have been reported,’’ the committee report said.
“There were major financial and other irregularities in the MEGA company under the urban development and urban housing department. However inquiries are pending at various levels,” the committee noted in its final observation.
It is pertinent to mention here that Gujarat police on 7th August 2015 had filed a charge sheet against former chairman of Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) project Sanjay Gupta and 10 others, accusing them of syphoning off Rs 113 crore.
The 200-odd page charge sheet was filed before the special court for anti-corruption cases by the investigating officer and Deputy SP, S G Parmar. It accuses Gupta, former IAS officer, and others of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy, etc.
Others named in the charge sheet were his associates Radhesh Bhatt, Sudhanshu Kushwah, Chetan Patel, Prakash Patel, Sandip Patel, Govind Vanzara, Harinarayan Sinh, Tarun Padhiyar and Animesh Doshi. Bhalchandra Kaklute has been described as an absconding accused.
Bogus firms were created in the names of office boys and tenders awarded at inflated rates to them by Gupta. False invoices were filed without getting any supplies for filling up the land at Motera for casting yard and depot.
The investigation started after an audit revealed that against MEGA's claim of 20.67 lakh sq mt land filling worth Rs 194.56 crore while work had been done only over 9.42 lakh sq mt. Bogus bills for land filling work were cleared without any work done on the ground. The value of the material purportedly used for this was Rs 113.22 crore.
This article first appeared on www.urbantransportnews.com