By – Khumanthem Dhanachandra
Imphal, Dec 1:
In a stark and unequivocal contravention of governmental regulations, the Minority and Other Backward Classes Economic Development Society (MOBEDS) negligently omitted the imperative step of securing performance guarantees from the designated contractors prior to conferring work orders upon them. This bold violation implies a collaborative involvement between MOBEDS and the implicated contractors in carrying out detrimental actions.
Para 21.1 of the CPWD Works Manual (2014) stipulates obtaining performance guarantees from successful tenderers for an amount equal to 5% of the tendered and accepted value of the work in government securities, fixed deposit receipts of scheduled banks, or irrevocable bank guarantee bonds of any scheduled bank or State Bank of India for performance guarantees of a value greater than Rs. 1 lakh.
Also, as per Paragraph 32.1 of the Manual ibid, advance payments to contractors for work done and measured may be made on submission of account bills by the contractors for the advance. The payment should be suitably endorsed both on the running bill against which the advance payment is made and the connected abstract of measurements in the Measurement Book.
And, also, Paragraph 32.4 of the Manual ibid stipulates that secured advances on the security of materials brought to site may be made to contractors for items that are to be used on work.
It was found that MOBEDS had issued 33 work orders on January 5, 2019 in connection with the construction of 28 Sadhbhavna Mandops and five other works in Manipur Public School, Koirengei. However, the office failed to obtain performance guarantees of Rs. 3,20,63,943 from the contractors concerned before awarding work orders to them to safeguard the interest of the government from failure on the part of contractors.
Moreover, it was also further found that the office had issued work orders to 23 contractors during March 2018 for the construction of 23 numbers of Sadhbhavna Mandop (Community Hall) under the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP), 2017–18. The unit cost of construction of one Sadhbhavna Mandop was Rs 2.01 crore. MOBEDS had paid advances to the contractors for a total amount of Rs. 4.55 crore, however, it was found that the contractors neither presented bills for works executed nor the office had measured the executed works to make the advance payment. Also, there were no records to substantiate that the contractors brought materials to the site for use at work.
As such, advance payments to contractors amounting to Rs 4.60 crore in violation of the rules ibid. resulted in undue benefits to the contractors. Reasons for payment of advances to contractors in violation of the rules ibid were not known.