The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has slammed the Mizoram government for incurring an "avoidable" expenditure of Rs 4.88 crore on formation cutting of the Darlak-Sihthiang road in Mamit district due to "negligence".
The CAG report tabled in the assembly by Chief Minister Zoramthanga in the recently concluded session said that the construction of the Darlak-Sihthiang road was undertaken under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) despite the village being already connected.
It said that Sihthiang was connected by an 11-km long Chuhvel-Sihthiang paved road, which is an all-weather road since December 2020.
While the construction of the Chuhvel-Sihthiang paved road was being taken up in May 2016, an agreement was signed in August 2019 between Mizoram Rural Road Development Agency of the state Public Works department and contractors for the construction of the Darlak-Sihthiang road at a cost of Rs 52.81 crore and the project was scheduled to be completed by June 2020.
"The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for construction of Darlak-Sihthiang road indicated that Sihthiang village, with a population of 495 was unconnected from any part of Mamit district and the length of the proposed Darlak-Sihthiang road was 35.61 km and the estimated project cost was Rs 58.32 crore," the audit report said.
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The contractor started the work in February 2020 and completed the formation cutting of 7.3 km in June 2021. However, the work was put on hold since July 2021 due to the non-availability of Forest clearance and the department proposed dropping of the project to the Ministry in July 2022, it said.
Out of the contract value of Rs 52.81 crore, the PWD incurred expenditure of Rs 4.88 crore till April 2022.
Meanwhile, a test check of records of the Executive Engineer, Kawrthah Division of the state PWD showed that Sihthiang village was connected by an 11 km Chuhvel-Sihthiang paved road constructed under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with an estimated cost of Rs 9.59 crore.
This work was executed by two contractors – M/s North East Consultancy Services (NECS) for construction of culverts and protection walls at a cost of Rs. 0.93 crore starting from May 13, 2016, and V. Malsawmdawngliana for the construction of flexible pavement at a cost of Rs 7.77 crore starting from June 23, 2016 – totalling Rs 8.70 crore and was completed in December 2020.
The CAG report pointed out that the expenditure of Rs. 4.88 crore on formation cutting of this road was "wasteful as the project was proposed to be dropped".
The state government admitted (August 2022) that since Sihthiang village has been connected through NABARD loan, the project under PMGSY was proposed for dropping to the Ministry of Rural Development in July 2022, the audit report said.
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