Sripada Sagar contractor gets undue benefit

Hyderabad, January 31: Suspecting collusion between some irrigation officials and contractors in taking up irrigation projects under the Jalayagnam programme, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to shortly have an exclusive day-long meeting on subjects relating to EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) system, release of mobilisation advances in projects like Pranahitha- Chevella and Polavaram and abnormal delay in project works etc.

The PAC has found that an undue benefit of about `14 crores was made to the contractor of Sripada Sagar project.

The commission, chaired by senior TDP member Nagam Janardhan Reddy, today met at the Assembly committee hall here, and discussed audit paras of irrigation department for the years 2005-06 and 2008-09.

The PAC members including MLCs P Sudhakar Reddy, KR Amos (both Congress), MLA B Gopalakrishna Reddy, MLC N Rajakumari (TD P) and others pulled up the officials for failure to take disciplinary action against the guilty officials and for not placing the erring contractors in the black list. The PAC, which took the lapses in tendering system and delay in works seriously, has directed the officials to submit note files by the next meeting to be held before commencement of the Budget session in February.

The PAC members, it is learnt, have decided to place a detailed report which include their observations on various irrigation projects in the forthcoming Assembly Budget session.

The PAC has found that the Superintending Engineer of Sripada Sagar project, Mancherial had altered the performance security payable clause subsequent to the conclusion of agreements, resulting in an undue benefit of `14.01 crores to the contractors.

The lowest tender of ‘A’ for `1737 crores was accepted and agreement concluded by the SE in April 2005. In August 2005, the SE issued an amendment to the NIT (Notice Inviting Tenders) altering the performance security payable in respect of tender to 2.5 percent (drastically reduced by 7.5 percent) of the respective contract prices.

As per the stipulation made in the NIT, the performance security payable was 10 percent of contract price.

What warranted the SE in altering the tender condition after receipt and acceptance of the tenders?, the PAC reportedly questioned.

The PAC also found lapses and other irregularities in projects like Sangam Banda balancing reservoir in Mahabubnagar district, Vontimitta tank in Kadapa, Modernisation of Pennar Delta system etc.