CAG Audit of Implementation of Mukhya Mantri Gram Setu Yojana in Jharkhand

The Department neither framed any operational guidelines nor conducted any survey to assess the un-bridged gaps in rural roads requiring construction of a bridge. Though the Department issued instructions through circulars/letters to manage the scheme and had a District Rural Road Plan (DRRP) under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) with information on gaps in the rural road network, these were not adhered to.

The bridges under the scheme were selected on the recommendations of MPs/MLAs/others without examining their feasibility or factoring in the un-bridged gaps in DRRP. Resultantly, bridges were constructed outside the realm of DRRP, at places having pre-existing bridges constructed under different schemes within one KM connecting same/nearby habitats and in municipal areas.  

Of the 208 incomplete bridge works in the State as of March 2019, 39 bridges could not be completed despite their completion periods by over six months to nine years and six months.

The Department did not have any operational guidelines for the engagement of consultants for the preparation of Draft Project Reports (DPRs). Resultantly, undue benefits were extended to the empanelled consultants by keeping their period of engagement open-ended leaving no scope for entry of new consultants and absence of penalty clause, performance review of consultants based on assessment criteria, review of DPRs of consultants by independent agencies etc.

The consultants did not conduct the required geotechnical investigations, hydrological and traffic data analysis. As a result, eight bridges constructed at a cost of ₹ 52.12 crores out of 42 test-checked bridge works got fully or partly damaged subsequently.

In designing approach roads, the consultants provided sharp curves (up to 90 degrees) at the entry/exit point of 16 bridges and shortened the width (3.75 metres to 4.1 metres) of approaches in comparison to the width of bridges (7.5 metres) in 28 bridge works. The consultants had also added an extra provision of five per cent for laps and wastage of steel valued at ₹ 2.41 crore in 33 sampled bridge works.

The tender and agreement documents were loaded in favour of contractors such as reduction in defect liability period of bridges etc.

No responsibility was fixed for the execution of sub-standard works valued at ₹ 52.07 crores in six bridges.

In the absence of periodic maintenance of completed bridges, scouring in bridge foundations, wear and tear in expansion joints and wearing coats, cracks in RCC works and damages in elastomeric bearing, damages to railings, footpaths, approach roads and flanks etc., were noticed during joint physical verification.

Audit Paragraphs

Award of work on the strength of fake bank guarantees and power of attorney suspected to be fake led to fraudulent payment and loss of Government money of ₹ 13.24 crore.

Injudicious sanction of widening and strengthening work of a portion of HKC road by Road Construction Department concurrently with the preparation of DPR of the same road led to avoidable expenditure of ₹ 5.03 crore on overlaying the bituminous works afresh.

Failure of the Welfare Department to monitor the activities of District Welfare Office (DWO), Chatra and enforce internal control measures led to embezzlement of ₹ 13.59 crore by the District Welfare Officer, Chatra in connivance with the cashier.

Failure of the Department to ensure water and electric supply besides the operational cost for operation of two nurseries even after more than four years of their construction led to unfruitful expenditure of ₹ 2.78 crores.

The Department failed to release funds to operationalise the Pig Breeding Nucleus (PBN) unit, establish Satellite Field Breeding units and implement the Pig Development Scheme despite a lapse of more than seven years since commencement. The pig sheds of the PBN unit constructed at a cost of ₹ 1.59 crore were lying idle since December 2014.

The Executive Engineer, Minor Irrigation Division, Giridih commenced work on the Charki Pahari Medium Irrigation Scheme without completing the process of land acquisition leading to idle expenditure of ₹ 1.30 crore and blocking of ₹ 3.93 crores.

Case Study 1
In Koderma district, a bridge under MMGSY over Kesho river between Tetron and Bansodih village was completed (the sanction year 2008) in March 2014 at a cost of 4.10 crore. The Department further sanctioned (years 2014 and 2017) two additional MMGSY bridges in the downstream of the same Kesho river between Tetron-Kushana (costing 4.60 crore) and
Dasharokhurd- Parsabad railway station (costing ` 4.44 crore). During joint physical verification (28 February 2020), the Audit noticed that the distance between the first two bridges (Tetron-Bansodih and TetronKushana) was one km and the last two bridges (Tetron-Kushana and Dasharokhurd- Parsabad railway station) was 500 metres. These three
completed bridges were providing connectivity to the same habitats of nearby locations. The following satellite picture taken by Audit from Google Earth using coordinates of the bridges clearly shows the adjacent bridges.

: Google Earth image of Tetron-Kushana and adjoining bridges (Joint physical
verification done on 28 February 2020)

Case study 2
In a span of four years (2011-14), the Department sanctioned two bridges on Shankh river in Raidih block of Gumla district for connecting habitats of the same location under MMGSY (March 2011 at a cost of 4.14 crore) and PMGSY (June 2014 at a cost of 6.71 crore). During joint physical verification (19 November 2019), the Audit noticed that the PMGSY bridge was under the DRRP, and was being utilised. The MMGSY bridge on the other hand was not under DRRP and had remained incomplete (November 2019). The distance between the two bridges is only 500 metres. The Department had incurred an expenditure of ` 2.20 crore on the bridge which could not be completed in more than nine years and proved unfruitful.

Incomplete MMGSY bridge and complete PMGSY bridge at a distance of
about 500 m at Khursurta and Bardih in Gumla district (Joint physical verification done
on 19 November 2019)
Incomplete MMGSY bridge at Khursurta and Bardih in Gumla district from
a different angle

Though MMGSY was exclusively launched for rural areas, six bridges in three out of six test-checked districts were irregularly approved and constructed at a total cost of ` 13.35 crore in Municipal areas by the Department on the
recommendations of the local MLAs (Appendix 2.1.3). The EEs of the concerned districts forwarded the recommendations of the MLAs to the Department for approval without mentioning that these bridges were located in urban (Municipal) areas over which Urban Development Department (UDD) has administrative jurisdiction. Permission sought from UDD, if any, before approval of these bridges was not found on record. In response to audit query, Secretary of the Department accepted that the Scheme was only for rural areas and stated that henceforth construction of bridges under the scheme would be avoided in urban areas. Construction of bridges under MMGSY in urban areas are illustrated through the following case studies:

Case Study 3
The Department sanctioned (July 2018 at a cost of ` 1.13 crore) a bridge under MMGSY over an urban river in Matkuria, Dhanbad on the recommendation of the local MLA. During joint physical verification (27 November 2019), Audit noticed the carriage way of the bridge was obstructed (1.5 metres out of total carriage width of 5.5 metres) by preexisting buildings in the alignment of the bridge. Thus, the bridge was not suitable for heavy vehicles and was being mainly utilised for parking purposes and as cattle sheds as shown in photographs below:

MMGSY bridge in urban area of Dhanbad city and existence of buildings in
the alignment of bridge (Joint physical verification done on 27 November 2019)

Case Study 4
On the recommendation of local MLA, the Department sanctioned (September 2013) a bridge under MMGSY over Harmu river between Vidyanagar-Mahavirnagar lane, road no.2, at Harmu colony in Ranchi at a cost of ` 2.75 crore. During joint physical verification, Audit noticed that the location of the bridge was in a municipal area. It was further seen that there was obstruction of the river current due to unauthorised construction
under the bridge compromising its safety as can be seen from the photographs below:

MMGSY bridge in urban area of Ranchi city and unauthorised construction
under the bridge (Joint physical verification done on 20 March 2020)

DPRs of 50 (10 per cent) out of 535 bridges were examined in the office of the CE. Of these, coordinates of the bridges were recorded in only 31 DPRs. Upon verification of these coordinates with the images of bridge sites on Google Earth, 20 bridges were found to have no connecting roads ahead of the approach roads. Thus, selection of these bridges without any link road was in violation of the Scheme mandate. An illustrative case study is given below.

Case Study 5
A bridge under MMGSY over Kharkai river between Hudgangada and Dharmadiha village in Saraikela- Kharsawan district was sanctioned (December, 2016) by the Department at a cost of ` 4.88 crore. The location of the bridge was not found on DRRP. The audit verified the geographical coordinates of the bridge site (220 38’14.4” N, 850 52’52.8” E) on Google Earth and found no connecting roads ahead of the approach roads of the bridge. This fact was confirmed during joint physical verification (7 January 2020) with the departmental engineers.

Google Earth image (Coordinates-22038’14.4” N, 85052’52.8” E)

The Department had not established PIU in any of the six test-checked districts for monitoring and inspection of the bridge works for reasons neither on record nor furnished to Audit. None of the six test-checked divisions maintained bridge registers while four out of six divisions did not have pile registers. The Department had also not drawn up any inspection schedule of the bridges. As a result, the Department could not monitor the works as envisaged
under the Scheme to achieve the intended objective of providing connectivity through the bridges.

Case Study 6
In Gumla district, a bridge under MMGSY over Charki river between NatwalDina Road, completed in May 2012 at a cost of ` 1.16 crore, collapsed in February 2017. Audit noticed that in the DPR of the bridge, open foundation was provided for two abutments and five piers of the bridge on the basis of soil investigation of only four boreholes against the requirement of nine. The depth of these boreholes which ranged between 0.95 metres and 1.38 metres were also short. After collapse of the bridge, the enquiry committee noticed (August 2017) that the river bed was sandy and river water was flowing below the four foundations. As a result, the soil below the foundation scoured and the bridge collapsed. Thus, at the time of designing the bridge, the nature of soil was not properly investigated and provision of open foundation which was not suitable for sandy soil was made in the DPR.

Photograph of the collapsed bridge over Charki river between Natwal-Dina Road.)

Case Study 7
A bridge under MMGSY over South Koel river between BalkhatangaLorengo road in Sisai block of Gumla district was completed in September 2010 at a cost of ` 2.95 crore. The bridge collapsed in July 2017 as four piers and five deck slabs were completely washed away due to heavy flow of water in the river. The enquiry committee reported (August of water as the prima facie cause of the damage. Audit noticed that in the DPR of the bridge, open foundations were provided for two abutments and nine piers of the bridge on the basis of soil investigation done in only three boreholes against the requirement of 13. Thus, designing of foundation type was done without conducting soil investigation as required.

Photograph of collapsed bridge over South Koel river between BalkhatangaLorengo road in Sisai block

Case study 8
In Gumla district, a bridge under MMGSY over the Sankh river between Mariyam toli-Sarnatoli in Raidih block was completed in March 2015 at a cost of ` 3.89 crores. The bridge was damaged in July 2017 as two piers sank
and three slabs tilted. The enquiry committee reported (August 2017) that the prima facie cause of the damage was excessive sand excavation. Audit noticed that in the DPR of the bridge, open foundations were provided for
two abutments and 19 piers of the bridge on the basis of soil investigation done in only four boreholes against the requirement of 23. Thus, the designing of foundations were not backed by required soil investigation as stipulated by
NORTH.

Photograph of damaged bridge over Sankh river between Mariyam toliSarnatoli in Raidih block

As a result of deficiencies in soil investigation, it was also noticed that changes were made in foundations in eight out of 57 sampled bridges in four testchecked districts after commencement of work. This increased the cost of construction (by ` 8.77 crore in five cases) and delayed the execution of works (ranging between three and 58 months).

Construction of bridge over Bansloi river in Pakur district
In Pakur, a 13 span bridge across Bansloi river, constructed (June 2015) at a cost of ` 5.98 crore for connecting Chandalmara and Ghatchhora collapsed on 30 September 2019. The Committee headed by CE reported (December 2019) that pier P10 along with two slabs (between P9-P10 and P10-P11) had dislodged and fallen down (shown in photograph below) due to the execution of shorter depth of pile foundation than actually envisaged in the DPR, inferior reinforcement in pile and sand excavation near bridge.

Construction of bridge over Khatti river in Godda district
In Godda, a six span bridge across Khatti river costing ` 4.40 crore was constructed (March 2016) for connecting Kanhai Pakaria village and Karra village. Audit noticed that a span of the bridge was damaged (December 2018) when two loaded trucks were passing over it.

Damaged span of bridge over Korka to Pakaria road in Pathargama block of
Godda district (Photo taken from files of the division)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *