An abandoned Skywalk project in Mizoram
Aizawl: Mizoram Assembly’s Committee on Estimates recommended that the state Tourism department should take prudent action in aiding the arbitration case on the proposed Skywalk and Ropeway projects to make sure recovery of lost funds amounting to Rs 16.01 crore.
In its report presented in the state legislature recently, the Committee on Estimates, chaired by the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) member Ramthanmawia, ddressed the significant financial losses incurred by the state’s Tourism department.
According to the report, the Ministry of Tourism sanctioned Rs 485 lakh for construction of a Skywalk under Swadesh Darshan scheme to the state Tourism department in 2017.
Joint Venture NEIP Projects Pvt. Ltd. and Ropeway & Resorts Pvt. Ltd were selected as contractors to take up the construction works, for which Rs. 283.50 lakh was released to the contractors as against Rs 242.50 lakh released by the Ministry of Tourism.
While financial achievement was recorded as 58.45 per cent, physical achievement was barely 5 per cent. The project remains incomplete and under arbitration even as the expected date of completion was March 31, 2022.
The contractors refused to continue the works despite repeated instructions and a show cause notice was served to the contractors on July 3, 2020.
The department undertook initiatives to settle the issue through arbitration as provided in the agreement signed between the Mizoram Tourism Development Authority and the contractor while the matter was also brought to the notice of the Mizoram Lok Ayukta.
In regards to the Ropeway project, Ministry of Tourism sanctioned Rs 2,482 lakh for the project and had had released Rs. 1,241.29 lakh.
The state Tourism department awarded the construction work to the Delhi-based Leading Edge Pvt. Ltd. and released Rs. 1,317.80 lakh to the contractor. The financial achievement in the contract is 53.08 per cent while the physical achievement is 4 per cent.
The matter was taken up with arbitration as well as the state Lok Ayukta while the Ministry of Tourism dropped the project on December 19, 2019.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said that criminal cases have been registered in the matters relating to construction of Skywalk and Ropeway and full investigation has been launched in accordance with the decision of the Mizoram Lok Ayukta.