Slamming the Maharashtra Public Works Department (PWD) for “lapses” in spending funds, the CAG has pointed out the maintenance and repair work of government buildings was carried out in an “ad-hoc manner”, and cost money beyond the allocated budget.
Giving examples, the CAG said works like structural strengthening, plumbing, fire fighting, ventilation and air conditioning, heating, etc, during the renovation of Mantralaya building, damaged in an incident of fire in June 2012, were actually of capital nature.
“However, these were sanctioned and executed under the Maintenance and Repair of Administrative buildings category instead of Capital outlay on Public Works. As per M & R (maintenance and repair) guidelines issued by the PWD in 1991, original works shall not be taken up against the maintenance grants as routine. However, in this case, guidelines were violated,” it said.
About the “unnecessary expenditure”, the CAG said the Majestic Aamdar Niwas at Colaba was declared uninhabitable by the IIT Bombay and a private structural consultant, but the department spent Rs. 9.20 cr between April 2009 and December 2015 on its maintenance and repair.
“The maintenance and repair work of the government buildings was taken up by the PWD in an ad-hoc manner, without preparation of annual repair programmes. The PWD carried out repair works in excess of the available budget and thus got saddled with a huge liability,” it said.
The CAG suggested estimation of demands for funds and their releases by the department should be “realistic”.
It also recommended buildings in urgent need of major repairs should be taken up on priority to avoid persistent risk to human lives and property.