For the last five years, construction work has been going on at the Gujarat University (GU) worth crores.
According to the minutes of the syndicate meeting, the consultant had fixed a maximum estimate of Rs 103 crore for hostel renovation and construction, staff quarters renovation, campus development, renovation of the administrative building, law building, water, sewage and gymnasium construction.
A tender was then floated in the newspaper and contractors were invited to bid. Separate work orders were given worth Rs 85 crore. Later, it was revealed that an amount of Rs 111 crore was paid. This figure is Rs 8 crore more than the original estimate.
Shailesh Goswami, Estate Engineer, said that in construction works, the cost often increases when the requirement changes or extra items are added during the ongoing work. He, however, claimed that the cost never goes beyond the estimate made.
Sources say that for the last six years, a single consultant has been working on the project. Earlier, between 2013 and 2015, it was a practice to appoint a new consultant every year. It is the job of the consultant to recommend design changes, plan changes, structural changes and extra work based on department requirements. Tenders are accordingly prepared and at the end of the online process, the determined contractor completes the construction according to the norms and rules. The consultant is paid a commission of two percent of the total amount of work planned.
It has to be noted that in the last five years, only two contractors have been assigned to work on the construction.
The contractor gets a work order after the approval of the construction committee and syndicate members. Also, it is mandatory to float an online tender for work worth more than Rs five lakh. But in the years 2018 to 2022, about Rs 26 crore worth of extra work was done, but no online tender process was followed.
In April, this year, the GU syndicate members demanded a new consultant for construction and renovation projects in keeping with the prescribed rules. The members blamed the present consultant for the delay in the completion of projects and renovation work at the varsity. Sources in the GU syndicate alleged that the consultant shares a good rapport with the university’s vice-chancellor, which is the reason authorities are continuing with his services despite proven inefficiency.