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Construction cost of LNH’s block exceeds by ₹670 crore; probe ordered

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi VK Saxena has alleged that a tender worth Rs 465 crore for construction of an additional block in Delhi Govt’s Lok Nayak Hospital has increased surreptitiously to Rs 1135 crore, creating a liability of approximately Rs 670 Crores on Delhi Government.

In a letter, VK Saxena said, “I have perused the matter, which relates to blatant violation of procedures and creating an unauthorized liability of approximately Rs 670 Crores for the GNCTD while constructing a new building block for Lok Nayak Hospital. A hospital originally tendered out on contract for Rs. 465 Crores (approx.), ran into re-estimates and expansion of the scope of work amounting to a whopping Rs. 1135 Crores (approx.).”

He alleged that this huge cost escalation has happened with a clear collusion of the Delhi Government’s Health Department under Saurabh Bhardwaj and the Public Works Department headed by Atishi Marlena.

LG VK 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 will also examine all such ongoing projects in different Delhi Government hospitals.

The case pertains to the construction of a new building block in LNH Hospital. The scheduled start date was November 4, 2020, with a completion period of 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 Health & Family Welfare Department of GNCTD had assigned the project to the Public Works Department (PWD).

However, the work originally tendered out for Rs 465 Crores, ran into re-estimates and expansion of scope of work amounting to a whopping Rs 1135 Crores.

The PWD attributed the cost overruns to an increase in the scope of work. But while the scope of work increased by 8.61 per cent only, the cost increased by a whopping 143 per cent.

Interestingly, such huge cost overruns were done at the level of the Engineers of the Department itself, even though it should have gone to the Finance Department and the Cabinet, the press note stated.

However, after LG flagged the matter to CM Arvind Kejriwal on June 22, 2023, the AAP Government brought a Cabinet Note in March 2024, for approval of the cost overruns, which is yet pending. ANI

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