CAG rap on VIP helipad

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 22.03.10
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Shillong, March 21: A helipad constructed on the outskirts of Shillong for VVIPs to land just for a day to lay the foundation stone of the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management in 2007, was not utilised for the purpose.

Instead the foundation stone itself was laid in a different place without using the helipad at Umsawli, 15km from here, and even after three years, the helipad has remained non-utilised.

According to the findings of a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India year ended March 31, 2009, to facilitate landing of helicopters carrying VVIPs, who were to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the RGIIM in 2007 at Umsawli village, the public works department had incurred the expenditure of Rs 42.87 lakh for the construction of the helipad.

However, in an irony, the foundation stone was laid on December 1, 2007, at another site at Mayurbhanj complex, Nongthymmai, Shillong, where the institute started functioning temporarily.

“Consequently, the helipad constructed at the cost of Rs 42.87 was not at all utilised. The utilisation of the helipad in near future is also not feasible, because of deterioration due to passage of many years time without any maintenance,” the report said.

The CAG observed that the construction of the helipad only for landing of the VVIPs for only a day and non-utilisation of the same for the purpose for which it was constructed rendered the entire expenditure wasteful.

According to the report, the justification for the construction of the helipad on the part of the government was that the proposed location was far from the state capital where travelling by road “was unsafe and inconvenient”.

To a further query from the CAG regarding the matter, the state government in October last year said that as the site is within the proposed new Shillong township, more projects would come up and the helipad ultimately will be useful in the near future.

“Even if the contention of the government is accepted, use of the helipad would not be possible without incurring further expenditure because of deterioration in condition due to non-maintenance,” the CAG said.

The report also pointed out that in violation of the Meghalaya Financial Rules 1981, the execution of the works was taken up in January 2006 by the executive engineer, National Highway Bypass Division, much before accord of administrative approval.

According to the financial rule, for every project, other than petty works, initiated by or required by any department, it is necessary to obtain administrative approval of the department concerned to the proposal before technical sanction, the CAG report added.