CAG had raised eyebrows over JICA project

ZEESHAN SHAIKH/IE, PANAJI | 21 July 2015 20:48 IST

The Comptroller and Accountant General of India (CAG) had red-flagged the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project for which Louis Berger — which is now facing bribery charges — was appointed as a consultant to monitor its implementation.

“The implementation of work under JICA project was tardy resulting in cost overruns,” the 2012-13 report of the CAG on water resources projects in the state said.

The aim of the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project, which was promoted by the Goa Government, was to improve water supply in Goa from 82 litre per capita per day (LPCD) to 100 LPCD in rural areas and 143 LPCD to 150 LPCD in urban areas with an emphasis on 24×7 water supply.

The total cost of the project was expected to be Rs 1031 crore of which JICA in 2007 agreed to provide a loan of Rs 847 crore, which had to be repaid after 2017 over a period of 20 years.

A consortium of four consultants — Nihon Suido Consultants, NJS Consultants, Shah Technical Consultants and Louis Berger — trumped four other interested bidders to bag the role of project management consultants for the project.

Their brief was to develop a project management information system & plan, evaluate bids of contractors, review design and construction plans, and ensure quality work was done on time and within the budget.

The fee that they received was supposed to have been five per cent of the total project cost. The entire project was broken into 22 parcels for which separate tenders were floated.

The payment of all the tenders was made by JICA to the contractor only after the work was certified by the Louis Berger-headed consortium.

The entire work was expected to be functional by 2015. Officials have claimed that the project will now take another year to complete.

The CAG, however, found various flaws in the way the project was run, both at the administration and the monitoring level.

Its report claimed that acceptance of tenders was delayed by one to 16 months causing the project cost to escalate by Rs 69 crore. It also stated that the project was improperly planned and lacked coordination.

“Improper planning and lack of coordination resulted in non-completion of work and idle investment of Rs 2.5 crore for a period of three years,” the report added.

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