MLA moves Lokayukta for action against MeECL, officials on Saubhagya scheme

Shillong, June 12 VPP legislator from North Shillong Adelbert Nongrum has filed a complaint before the Meghalaya Lokayukta against ten former officials of the government and Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) for alleged corruption in the implementation of the Saubhagya scheme.

The complaint is against the former chief secretary, former additional chief secretary (Power), chairman cum managing director (CMD) of MeECL and former officials of the MePDCL that include Director (Distribution), Chief Engineer (Distribution), Chief Engineer (Rural Electrification), Company Secretary, Chief Accounts Officer/Deputy Chief Accounts Officer, Additional Chief Engineer (Material Management) and Additional Chief Engineer (Planning & Design).


The matter was filed based on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Social and Economic Sectors for the year ended 31 March 2022.

In the complaint, Nongrum said, “The instant complaint is made u/s 13(1)(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the ground that the public servants indicated in particulars i. to x, who were in service at the time in the year 2018, have dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriated property placed under their control as public servants or allowed any other person to do so, and based upon facts presented briefly as follows.”

He said that chapter 3 of the CAG Report relates to audit observations on functioning of State Public Sector Enterprises, and at Para 3.3 of the Report it presents Audit findings on avoidable expenditure of Rs 156 crore in Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL) a conclusive finding which is of significant and alarming concern to accountability of Public money.


“Despite advisory issued by Cabinet Secretary, injudicious decision of MePDCL for awarding works under SAUBHAGYA to contractors at their quoted rates resulted in avoidable expenditure of ₹ 156.14 crore,” Nongrum stated.


He said that the audit findings has revealed that deletion of significant clauses from bid document for works under SAUBHAGYA household electrification programme by the Empowered Committee (Tender) of MePDCL was not only irregular and contrary to the directions given by Rural Electrification Corporation on Standard Bid Document issued by Govt. of India but also provided undue financial benefits to Turnkey Contractors.

“Audit findings indicate that the Empowered Committee (Tender) comprised of the following officials of MePDCL: i) Director (Distribution) as Chairman, ii) Chief Engineer (Distribution), iii) Chief Engineer (RE), iv) Company Secretary, v) Chief Accounts Officer/Deputy Chief Accounts Officer, vi) Additional Chief Engineer (Material Management) vii) Addl. Chief Engineer (Planning & Design), and was constituted in October 2017 by MePDCL; and hence these officials of MePDCL are named by designation in this instant complaint before Meghalaya Lokayukta,” the MLA said.

He said the “audit findings further observed that the Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India in a video conference on dated 14.12.2018 with the Chief Secretary to Govt of Meghalaya and other officials of Govt. of Meghalaya/MePDCL had suggested that the Notice Inviting Tender of SAUBHAGYA scheme be cancelled, and works be taken up departmentally on the reason that the rates quoted by the Turnkey Contractors were above the estimated cost, to which Govt of Meghalaya concurred with the proposal and advised MePDCL to comply with the directives of the Cabinet Secretary; however despite providing assurance to the Cabinet Secretary, MePDCL went ahead with the tender and awarded in February-March 2019 the works to the Turnkey Contractors, thereby extending undue financial benefit to them and resulting in avoidable expenditure.”

The audit findings also indicated that the aforementioned advisory from the Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India was agreed to by the Chief Secretary to Govt of Meghalaya as well as the Additional Chief Secretary (Power) to Govt of Meghalaya – an agreement which was clearly flouted; and hence these officials of Govt of Meghalaya are also named by designation in this instant complaint before Meghalaya Lokayukta.

The CAG report revealed that audit carried out item-wise rate comparison of common items being executed departmentally by MePDCL and through Turnkey Contractors, and it was seen that 86 out of 95 items under ‘Supply component and 44 out of 54 items under ‘Erection component’ were common; however, the rates quoted by the contractors were much higher than the departmental rates resulting in avoidable expenditure of Rs 156.14 crore, the complaint said.

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