Bhubaneswar: The state Congress on Wednesday demanded a CBI probe into alleged excess payment of Rs 74 crore in the construction of Gurupriya bridge in Malkangiri district.
In a press statement, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik said the amount was paid fraudulently to the contractor as pointed out by the Principal Accountant General (PAG).
Alleging that the state government had misused public money to benefit the contractor, Niranjan demanded a probe by the central investigating agency to unearth the facts.
The PAG (Economic and Revenue Sector Audit) Economic Sector-II, Puri branch, in a draft note, clearly mentioned that the state government has paid Rs.74 crore in excess to the construction company, the OPCC president said.
“Before inauguration of the bridge on July 26, Deputy PAG M Sridhar had written to the Works Secretary stating that the OPWD norms were violated during preparation of estimate for construction of the bridge. The Works Department got technical approval of Rs 104.38 crore for the bridge. Later, the estimate was hiked to Rs 115.80 crore. Its maintenance for five years was included in the estimate, but the estimate was again revised to Rs 174.58 crore by September 2017,” he said.
Nirnjan further said that there is no such provision in OPWD code that Rs.24 crore can be allotted at a time for fuel to be consumed by boats and other expenses. Also there was no such provision in 2016 AOR.
Since the PAG had pulled up the state government for the excess payment made to the contractor on basis of Sridhar’s letter, a CBI probe should be ordered, he added.
The 910-metre-long bridge, connecting nearly 152 villages in eight gram panchayats in areas in and around Kalimela and Chitrakonda reservoirs with the mainland, has been constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 187.25 crore