THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CAG has called for a probe against the Public Work Department’s irregular award of hefty work contracts to the pro-Left Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS).
The CAG report on Economic Sector for the fiscal ending on March 2017 said the PWD awarded five works worth Rs 809.93 crore to the ULCCS on nomination basis without tender. This is in violation of the guidelines issued by the Central Vigilance Commission and Kerala Financial Code. According to the guidelines for selection of accredited agencies, the maximum quantity of work that can be entrusted to an agency at a time is Rs 250 crore.
Furthermore, according to the CAG, as per the guidelines for selection of accredited agencies, the maximum value of a single work that could be entrusted with the ULCCS is Rs 25 crore. Also, the maximum quantity of work to be held by the society at a time is only Rs 250 crore.
The Finance Department had earlier issued guidelines for selection of accredited agencies for execution of public works and enlisted ULCCS as one of the accredited agencies. This according to the CAG is in violation of the CVC guidelines and the government’s Financial Code.
“As the department did not adhere to the guidelines issued by the CVC, government and the Supreme Court’s directions on awarding the contract, an inquiry needs to be initiated by the government to fix responsibility,” the report said.
The official auditor also pulled up the government for entrusting a work to the ULCCS and exempting it from paying royalty for the earth supplied by them. As per the Kerala Minor Mineral Concession Rules, royalty is to be paid to the government for quarrying earth.
“The audit noticed the unit rate for filling earth was inclusive of the cost of royalty at the rate of Rs 45.27 per cubic metre. Hence, the exemption granted resulted in undue benefit of Rs 1.73 crore to the contractor,” the report said.
Forest Dept criticised for pandering to Mohanlal
T’Puram: The CAG has criticised Forest Department for issuing an order to benefit actor Mohanlal in an incident where four elephant tusks were seized from his home. “During 2012-17, there were two declarations of possession of animal articles under Section 40 (4) of the Act by a prominent film actor, consequent of detection of four elephant tusks by Forest authorities at his house,” the report says.The department registered a case against him in 2012. The government granted him permission on December 16, 2015, under Section 40 (4) of the act to declare possession of the articles by issuing an order specifically for him. Later, the actor requested permission to declare 13 artifacts made of ivory, stated to be family heirlooms. . “Issuing a specific order to benefit an individual instead of issuing a notification in the official gazette was a violation of Section 40 (4) of the Act,” the report says.