Moving earth in mountainous Mizoram is apparently the job of two-wheelers, not excavators.
A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General has unearthed anomalies in the implementation of Border Area Development Programme (BADP) from 2012-2017 along Mizoram’s border with Myanmar.
Earth-cutting and excavation along the border were done with scooters, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws and cars, the report underlining “doubtful hiring of excavators” tabled in the 40-member Assembly a week ago.
According to the CAG report, Mizoram’s Rural Development department and block development officers of Champhai and Lungsen Blocks hired “earth excavators” for 67 road projects along the border.
A cross-check of the registration numbers of the “earth movers” mentioned in money receipts with the State Transport Department revealed they were two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and small cars.
Doubtful payment of ₹3.15 crore was made to contractors for such “earth excavators”, the report said.
The CAG also found that the same vehicles recorded as earth excavators or trucks were used at two or more different places at the same time in 20 of the 67 BADP projects.
Officials of the department had clarified that the dealing with the excavator owners was mostly on mobile phones, and as such, some words or numbers might have been misheard leading to wrong entry of registration numbers in the bills.
The CAG said the reply indicated the laxity of the departmental officials concerned who did not deem it necessary to ascertain the genuineness of the claims.
The Congress, under Lal Thanhawla, had ruled Mizoram during the audit period cited in the CAG report.