Delhi govt LNJP hospital under scanner, LG orders CVC probe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Medlarge Featured, Hospitals, Latest
LNJP Hospital

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has approved a CVC probe into a massive cost escalation of Rs 670 crore in the construction of a new block of Delhi government’s Lok Nayak hospital. A tender worth Rs 465 crore for the construction of an additional block at Lok Nayak hospital has increased to Rs 1,135 crore, thereby creating an unauthorised liability of approximately Rs 670 crore on the Delhi government, the LG said in an official note. Welcoming the enquiry into the matter, Delhi gov demanded strictest punishment if any illegality is found.

Mr Saxena has asked the Vigilance Department to request the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to constitute a special team of Chief Technical Examiners to conduct a detailed technical examination in this matter. LG has also constituted a committee to examine the procedural violations that led to cost escalation to the tune of Rs 670 crore. The committee, which will submit its report within two months, will also examine all such ongoing projects in different Delhi government hospitals.

“In his note, the LG is himself saying that cost escalation has happened at the level of officers without the knowledge of the Government. We welcome any enquiry into this matter and strictest punishment if any illegality is found. These officers are directly under the control of LG. The Vigilance Department is directly under LG”, said a Delhi govt source.

“Its beyond justification that such huge cost overruns were effected at the level of the engineers of the department itself even though it should had gone to the Finance department and the Cabinet,” the LG said in his note. The work on the new block at Lok Nayak hospital was scheduled to start at November 4, 2020 and get completed within 30 months.

“However, even after three and a half years, the current progress of work is only 64 per cent even as costs have risen by 243 per cent,” the officials said.

The Delhi government’s Health department had assigned the project to the Public Works Department (PWD). However, the work originally tendered out for Rs 465 crore ran into re-estimates and expansion of scope of work amounting to a whopping Rs 1135 crore, they said. The PWD attributed the cost over runs to increase in the scope of work, the officials said.

The LG wrote to the chief minister on June 22, 2023, flagging reports of “inordinate delays” in hospital projects highlighting cost over runs running into thousands of rupees. The LG said in his note that he noticed a dispute between the PWD and the private construction company engaged for the work. An arbitral tribunal constituted for adjudication of dispute gave an award of Rs 82.45 crore in favour of the contractor.

However, the department (PWD) chose not to challenge the award that further increased the financial burden, he said. “The loss to the exchequer and public money due to the procedural violations and unauthorized liability is a very grave matter that warrants immediate and thorough investigation. Accordingly, I approve the proposal to request the CVC to constitute a special team of Chief Technical Examiners to conduct a detailed technical examination in this matter,” the LG said in his note.