New Delhi: It sounds unreal but with the kind of blatant loot the government officials resorted to while executing the projects related to the Commonwealth Games 2010, nothing seems impossible for the officials of the Delhi government.

The total cost of renovating the pavement surpassed the expenses incurred in building a four-lane highway or laying railway track.

The street scrapping drive of the Delhi government ahead of the Commonwealth Games is a classic example of opaque tendering process, arbitrary costing, filthy income for contractors and rule of the consultants.

The documents available with Jagran show how crores of rupees of the tax payers’ money was pocketed in the name of beautification of the national capital.

Documents show that on an average Rs 5.32 crore per kilometre were spent on sprucing up Delhi’s pavements ahead of the CWG. At some places, the expenditure went beyond Rs 9.32 crore per kilometre.

It may be noted that the cost of construction of a four-lane highway comes down to Rs 9.50 crore per kilometre while the cost of laying down one km railway track is around Rs 4 crore.

Documents show that the cost of street scrapping per kilometre varied from Rs 3 crore outside the stadiums to Rs 9 crore on the ring road.

Crores were spent on trading, contractors’ payment, consultants’ fee, imported lamp fittings and polished granites on the pavements.

Noting the above expenses, the Delhi government would have to do some answering when the CAG starts auditing the expenses. The audit and probe agencies are already investigating the wastage of Rs 100 crore in this Rs 209-crore tender.

The probe agencies have found that there was no standard design for sprucing up the pavements and the work was totally dependent on private consultants who milked the public exchequer dearly.

Lavish pavements

Delhi government made some of the pavements more expensive than any lavish drawing room. The cost of every tile used is estimated to be at Rs 2,700. Notably, some cycle lanes have been constructed at the cost of Rs 9.36 crore.

On an average the tiles were laid down at the cost of Rs 717 per unit. At some places branded tiles were also ordered by the consultants.

All records were broken in the decoration of these pavements. The street lamps ordered for the beautification had decorative lights worth Rs 2 crore. In addition, Rs 1.2 crore Berlin lamps were also ordered for the poles. Rs 1 crore was spent on the highly expensive Nimo torches whose maintenance is not known.

Role of contractors

Even the streetscaping tenders have striking loopholes. The documents show, the complete work was divided in 16 packages and distributed to 10 contractors. The work module was changed again and again and arbitrary payments were made to the contractors.

The work which was to be completed by October 2010 continued till December 2010. Nearly 63 percent of the work payment was made to the contractors under the agreement without the completion of the project.

Benefitting consultants

Consultants thoroughly enjoyed the goof up. The state government arbitrarily selected consultants over a period of four years between 2004 and 2008.

The whole project was looked after by the consultants who charged astronomical fee of Rs 12.5 lakh per kilometre and swindled about Rs 9.20 crore of the public exchequer. These consultants are under scanner of the probe agencies.

Anshuman Tiwari/JPN