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Huge bungling in judicial building work

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Works EIC, officials’ nexus with contractor under scanner, high-level probe demanded.

To make matters worse, the top officials’ including the Engineer-in-Chief (EIC)’s unholy nexus with contractors and bending of rules to favor some contractors, is causing loss worth crores of rupees to the State exchequer. These dishonest officials are not even sparing the judiciary, to earn green bucks.

A classic example of the aforesaid corruption and nepotism is the judicial building(In front of Bhanja Kala Mandap) being constructed in the capital city Bhubaneswar at an estimated cost of Rs 82 crore, the contract of which was given to the lowest bidder Dilip Khatoi constructions and one SM Consultants was appointed as the consultant for the project.

During the fixing of rates for the excavated soil it was alleged that there were gross irregularities. The monitoring committee which consisted of EIC Manoranjan Mishra, Chief Engineer (Building) JN Nayak, Chief Construction Engineer and Financial Advisor overlooked the irregularities by the soil for which the State exchequer lost crores of rupees. Strangely, the executing agency Dilip Khatoi Constructions was made one of the members of the committee violating the OPWD Code.

However, during the audit, the auditors issued a notice to the department about the escalation of cost of excavated soil. In a bid to suppress their wrongdoing and role in the scam, the department penalised the contractor of R 4 crore. But the fine is only on pen and paper. No money has been recovered from him till now. But surprisingly no action was taken against the guilty officials.

Later, the department top mandarins in a bid to compensate the guilty contractor for the loss gave him the contract to construct a multi-level parking at a cost of Rs 50 crore  in the premises of the judicial building without calling for a tender. It is alleged if a tender had been issued, the lowest bidder would have got the work, saving some crores of public money as the project cost has been escalated.

 A high-level probe by an independent agency can unearth the scams in various important projects in the Works Department and punishment meted to the guilty officials who have gone scot-free till now, demanded the intelligentsia.

Notably, Dilip Khatoi constructions was executing a tunnel in the Biju Patnaik International couple of years back, which collapsed, killing a worker and injuring several others. The Works Department’s soft-corner for such an executing agency has raised many eyebrows.      

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