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PAC recommends investigation into State Sports Academy in Zobawk

Aizawl: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Mizoram legislative assembly recommended that the matter of construction of State Sports Academy at Zobawk in southern Mizoram’s Lunglei district should be taken up and investigated by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

The PAC report recently tabled in the state legislature by its Chairman Vanlanhlana said that there has been alleged misuse of funds and overlapping of various components between the components under Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) undertaken by the state Public Works Department (PWD) and PMJVK taken up by the Mizoram State Sports Council (MSSC).

“The Committee, therefore recommends that the matter be taken up and investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and furnish its findings to the Committee,” the report said.

According to the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (2018-19), the Ministry of DoNER in August 2010 approved the project “Construction of State Sports Academy at Zobawk” at an estimated cost of Rs.17.51 crore with a completion time frame of 24 months (July 2012) under Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR). 

The project envisaged to create a centre of excellence by providing systematic and scientific training facility to young talented sportspersons in different field of sports. The State Sports Academy at Zobawk was planned to have hostels for trainees, staff quarters, guest house, administrative building, indoor stadium, football ground, hockey ground, tennis court, volleyball court, running track, shooting range, archery range, pit for high jump, long jump and pole vault, the report said.

The work was awarded in June 2012 for Rs. 16.45 crore after a delay of almost two years from the approval of the project and the agreement was signed with the contractor in February 2013 with a delay of more than nine months due to uncertainty of the applicable Mizoram Value Added Tax (MVAT) rates on the part of the contractor.

Scrutiny revealed that the detailed working drawings and structural drawings were issued to the contractor on a piece-meal basis with substantial delays.

“It can be seen that the delays in finalisation of the structural, working drawings and layout of tracks and fields ranged from 19 to 54 months from the date of issuance of work order. Due to this, the contractor (R. Sangkhuma of Aizawl) requested for foreclosure of the agreement after executing works amounting to Rs. 6.98 crore as it was not financially feasible to execute the project,” the report pointed out. 

The state PWD terminated the contract agreement in August 2016 and retendered the remaining works in December 2016 and awarded the work to a new contractor in January 2017 for Rs. 10.53 crore. The work which was restarted in January 2017 was on-going as of December 2020.

It was further noticed by the audit that the PWD excluded six components of the project amounting to Rs.1.60 crore while nine components of work were left incomplete (Rs.0.99 crore) and two components of work (Rs. 0.06 crore) were not executed at all by the second contractor. The total area of the Indoor Stadium was reduced from 3,009 sq. metre to 2,400 sq. metre. 

Further, the second contractor could execute works only for Rs. 9.47 crore up to December 2020. As total funding for the project amounting to Rs. 16.45 crore was exhausted, the Department (PWD) has calculated an additional requirement of Rs. 7.42 crore for completion of the balance work.

Thus, the construction of State Sports Academy which was envisaged to be the only standard sports academy and centre of excellence in the State for Sports and Youth Services Football Academy and other sports discipline remains incomplete even after nine years of the approval of the project, mainly due to delays attributable to the PWD coupled with poor project management and monitoring of the project. 

During follow-up of the CAG report the PAC observed that a huge amount of money was lost due to non-execution of various components included in the working estimates, overlapping of components with PMJVK and non-completion of most of the components. 

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