Unfruitful expenditure on Solar Water Heating System – Rs 1.39 crore

Two government hospitals got Solar Water Heating Systems installed in their buildings at the cost of Rs 1.96 crores. Due to poor planning and the absence of any arrangement for the safety and security of systems, the major part of the systems became dysfunctional within three years of functioning, resulting in an unfruitful expenditure of Rs 1.39 crore.

As per the Government notification dated 24 April 2006, the use of solar water heating systems is mandatory in government hospitals. In pursuance of these instructions, two government hospitals – Lok Nayak Hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, got Solar Water Heating Systems (SWHSs) installed during November 2008 to February 2010. Audit scrutiny of records relating to installation and maintenance of systems, and physical inspection on sites,
revealed the following:

(A) Lok Nayak Hospital

Against an Administrative Approval and Expenditure Sanction (AA&ES) of Rs 82.69 lakh accorded by the hospital on 31 March 2009, PWD procured 24 SWHSs from a private supplier at the cost of Rs 47.37 lakh and incurred Rs 36.51 lakh on other related items, like pipelines. The systems were installed in February 2010 but were made functional only in April 2012. A joint inspection of these systems conducted (August 2015) by Audit along with representatives from PWD and the hospital found that only 2 (9 sets) out of 10 SWHSs (30 sets) installed in the hospital were partially working. The remaining systems (85 per cent) became dysfunctional within a period of three years of functioning through the normal life of an SWHS is 15 years. Thus, expenditure of Rs 71.30 lakh10 incurred on the installation of these damaged SWHSs, had become unfruitful.
The hospital attributed (September 2015) the delay in making SWHSs functional to the fabrication of base frames, overhead tanks and distribution networks. It added that the damage to the systems was due to the non-providing of safety enclosures for the systems at the time of installation, damage by some miscreants and heavy storms. The reply is not acceptable, as it is the responsibility of the hospital to ensure safety and security measures for the systems at the planning stage itself providing suitable water connection,

(B) GTB Hospital

The hospital procured 15 SWHSs costing Rs 46.79 lakh from two private suppliers (November 2008 and May 2009) and released payment of Rs 32.75 lakh (70 per cent). The hospital accorded (August 2010 and March 2011) AA&ES for Rs 1.02 crore to PWD also, for providing, installing and testing of the distribution network for these SWHSs and for providing and installing additional SWHSs in Casualty, X-ray, OT Block and Ward Block. PWD incurred an expenditure of Rs 79.44 lakh against the sanction. Audit along with officials of GTB hospital and PWD conducted a joint inspection (August 2015) and found only 35 to 40 per cent of SWHSs working while the remaining were damaged beyond economic repair. Thus, expenditure of Rs 67.32 lakh, (60 per cent of Rs 112.19 lakh) had become unfruitful due to the failure of the hospital to plan and arrange for the safety and security of SWHSs
installed in the building.
The hospital stated that damage to systems was caused by storms in May 2014 and 2015. The reply is not acceptable, as the safety and security of SWHSs, should have been the part of initial planning by providing for safety enclosures for systems.

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