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Crores embezzled in Works Department

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In the guise of EOT, escalation, hiring of consultants

BHUBANESWAR: Thousands of crores of rupees of public funds is being embezzled in the Odisha Works Department (ODW) through innovative schemes called Extension of Time (EOT), escalation and deviation, appointment of consultants under the guise of third-party inspection.

Works Department carrying out works in open tender.  Before open tender of any work, the estimate is done, technical aspects are carried out, then the financial part is looked into.

But at present, the implementing agency or the L1 qualifier is paid 14.99% less than the tender cost. So it is no surprise that the agency is compromising on the quality of work and time schedule.

Some executing agencies alleged that they have to pay kickbacks (percentage commission) to the supervising officials and the local politicians in the area where the work is being executed.

If the executing agency has to pay 40% of the tender cost as PC, then the quality of work naturally suffers.

Through the supervising engineers, some agency under different pretexts like forest clearance, land acquisition and shifting of electric poles are delaying the project, to approach the higher authorities to change the estimate and design and change the construction materials, and seek Extension of Time(EOT), escalation and deviation to make high profits.

There are above 50 OWD divisions in the State and in which more nearly Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore is allocated as per plan, non-plan and department’s emergency budget.

The consultants are exploiting the department’s weakness and carrying out rampant irregularities in a nexus with the senior officials without open tender.

 The officials are cleverly forming committees and siphoning of crores of rupees with the help of consulting agencies.

One of the main reasons behind the chaos in the department are some unscrupulous officials, who have been posted in the Establishment Section for years. An example is the Special Secretary Establishment Work Department. He was earlier the Land Officer in the department. It is alleged that he is in a nexus with some engineers and is calling the shots in the department.

While posting the engineers, he is placing his favourites in lucrative positions for his own vested interest. But this has not come to the notice of the Secretary.

Besides, Executive Engineer posts are lying vacant in as many as 10 divisions. But no attention is paid to fill up the vacancies.

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