ADB Funds don’t reach project account, diversion suspected

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Imphal, September 05 2017: With the fund sanctioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for construction of Thoubal-Kasom Khullen road under North East States Road Investment Programme (NESRIP) not reaching the project account, a strong suspicion has been raised that an amount of Rs 5.6 crore has been diverted to other purposes .

Both Tupul-Bishnupur road (52 Kms) and Thoubal-Kasom Khullen road (48 Kms) are projects taken up under NESRIP and funded by ADB .

Generally, necessary funds for the two roads of total length of 100 Kms are sent by the Ministry of DoNER after due proposals are submitted .

The funds released by DoNER Ministry are sent to the State’s Finance Department and it transfers the amount to the project account.

Thus the contractors’ liabilities are paid from time to time .

Next instalment of funds are sought after submitting utilisation certificates for the funds released earlier by the Ministry of DoNER, informed a well placed source .

The latest instalment of fund amounting to around Rs 16 crore was released by the Ministry of DoNER in February this year for payment of contractors’ liabilities .

The Finance Department transferred around Rs 10 crore to the project in April and held back around Rs 5.6 crore.

The amount held back by the Finance Department has not been released till date, informed the source .

With Rs 5.6 crore still held back out of Rs 16 crore released by the Ministry of DoNER, due utilisation certificates cannot be submitted.

In the absence of utilisation certificates, the Ministry has refused to sanction any further instalment of fund even as two bills amounting to around Rs 7 crore were submitted to the Ministry .

As the contractors’ due liabilities have not been paid in time, the road construction work has slackened .

There is also a provision which says that the authority concerned should pay extra 15 per cent of the liabilities to contractors if their liabilities are not paid in time .

Earlier, there was an instance when a contractor demanded Rs 5 crore as penal payment for not paying his liabilities in time.

There is a strong possibility of contractor(s) demanding penal payment this time too.

If the contractor(s) demand penal payment, the State Government would have to bear the additional burden of around Rs 6 crore, said the source .

Moreover around Rs 37 crore released by the Ministry of DoNER for construction of Imphal-Kangchup-Tamenglong Road has been pending with the Finance Department .

This project is also funded by ADB under NESRIP but the fund released by the Ministry of DoNER in April this year has not yet reached the project account, added the source.

Source: The Sangai Express

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