PAC pulls up Defence Ministry for delays in Scorpene project

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Pulling up the DefenceMinistry for giving "lame excuses" for delays in the Scorpenesubmarine project, a Parliamentary Committee today asked it toquantify and recover the losses accrued due to the delayedinduction.

The submarine project, being undertaken byMumbai-based Mazagon Dockyards in partnership with Frenchcompany DCNS, is delayed by over three years as the first ofthe six vessels to be procured by the Navy would be inductedin 2015 against the original induction plan of 2012.

Asking the Ministry to take corrective action forfinalising acquisitions within the specified time-frame toavoidtime and cost overruns, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)asked it to "discard" its tendency of putting across excusesin cases of delayed procurement of equipment.

"Highly complex nature of procurement and extensivescrutiny of proposal are no valid excuses for delayedfinalisation of the contract for as long as three years," thereport by Murli Manohar Joshi-headed Committee said.

The delays have also resulted in the price escalationas the Government has given sanction for cost revision of theproject, which was originally signed for over Rs 18,000 crorein 2004.

"Outrightly rejecting" the government''s Action TakenReport (ATR) on the delays in the Submarine induction, the PAC"deplored" the "unwarranted stubbornness" of the DefenceMinistry to quantify the exact loss in terms of money due todelayed procurement of submarines.

"The Committee reiterate the need for quantificationof financial losses accrued due to delayed procurement ofequipment and desire the Ministry to apprise it of the exactlosses and and action taken to recover the losses and fixresponsibility to check recurrence of such incidents," thereport said.

The Committee also asked the Ministry to do away withthe shortcomings pointed out by the Group of Ministers (GoM)in the defence acquisitions and take into account the changessuggested by it while amending the Defence ProcurementProcedure (DPP).

Due to the delays, India''s under water operationalpreparedness is likely to suffer as the Navy has been forcedto do with its depleting fleet of submarines of which the KiloClass are being sent to Russia for upgrades.

The government is also working on the proposal toconstruct six additional submarines for the Navy underProject-75 (India).

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