The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in a recent report tabled in the Assembly brought to light non-enforcement of contractual provisions by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) which resulted in undue favour of ₹1.05 crore to a contractor.
The issue was about construction of a ring sewer main to divert sewage from Kukatpally nala to prevent it from flowing into the downstream of Hussainsagar. The government had accorded administrative approval and technical sanction for the work costing ₹58.96 crore in February 2015.
In April 2015, the works were divided into four packages and entrusted to two agencies. Agency 1 got package I for ₹7.23 crore and package III for ₹7.80 crore. Agency 2 got package II for ₹7.87 crore and package IV for ₹4.82 crore.
As against the scheduled date of completion of October 2015, the works were completed in April 2016. The contractor was supposed to dig probing pits of specified dimensions, including road cutting, at every 100 meter interval along the alignment to accurately locate and determine position of existing utilities and obstructions.
All utility lines and structures, whether indicated on the drawings or not, which were to remain in service, should be protected by the contractor from any damage likely to result from his operations. Any damage to any utility resulting from the contractor’s operations should be repaired at the contractor’s expense.
During the execution of the work in July 2015, the Transmission Corporation of Telangana requested HMWS&SB to take precautionary measures by maintaining sufficient clearance of minimum three metres between cable trench and pipeline trench to prevent collapse of cable trench for the already existing 132 KV underground power cable.
In August 2015 and again in April 2016, TRANSCO discovered damages to the 132 KV UG power cable at Necklace Road. TRANSCO fixed the responsibility for rectification of power cable on HMWS&SB. The repairs were carried out by TRANSCO and a claim of ₹1.05 crore was levied towards damage charges. HMWS&SB paid ₹1.05 crore during December 2015 to July 2017 to TRANSCO towards rectification works for the damaged UG cable. It did not, however, invoke the contractual clauses to recover this amount from the contractor. Non-enforcement of contractual provisions by HMWS&SB resulted in undue favour of ₹1.05 crore to the contractor.