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CAG assails Def Min, Navy for delay in refit of submarine

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INS Sindhukriti at the Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. An HSL photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Government auditor CAG on Tuesday slammed the Navy, Defence Ministry and a state-run shipyard for the protracted delay in carrying out refit of submarine INS Sindhukirti because of which the force was unable to operate one of their lethal platforms since June 2004.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report submitted to Parliament said the medium refit of the EKM-class submarine was due for commencement in 2001 but was carried out from January 2006 by when the material state of the vessel had witnessed "extensive deterioration".

It noted that though the refit was scheduled to be completed by January 2009, due to the deficiency in manpower deployed by the Hindustan Shipyard Limited, lack of protection to main line cables, delayed supply of yard materials and modernisation of equipment, the submarine was delivered by the shipyard to the Navy in June this year with Sea Acceptance Trial to follow.

"As a result, the Navy is unable to operate one of their lethal platforms since June 2004," the report said.

It also noted that the cost of the refit was revised from Rs 629.50 crore (June 2005) to Rs 999.52 crore (August 2013) with additional liabilities of Rs 92.17 crore still being claimed by the yard in September 2015.

"This apart, improper financial management led to the diversion of funds to the tune of Rs 92 crore," the report said.

In its recommendations, CAG said the planning and commencement of refit of submarines should be as per schedule to avoid excessive exploitation of vessels' extension of refitting time.

"The Ministry should ensure that efforts are augmented to improve the scale of utilisation of indigenous materials in line with its own directives.

"The Navy should establish a dedicated Project Team, the expertise of which is available to each indigenous offloaded refit," the report said.

CAG also criticised the Coast Guard and the Defence Ministry for the delay in acquisition of inshore patrol vessels.

It said that eight of the 13 IPVs decommissioned between December 2008 and July 2013 could be replaced after a delay of four to sixty months, while replacement of the remaining five vessels had not been received, thereby resulting in restricted operational effectiveness of the Coast Guard.

CAG also criticised the defence authorities over the "avoidable expenditure" of Rs 20.80 crore on medium refit-cum-cadet training ship conversion of INS Sujata due to improper evaluation of bids.

It also slammed the Material Organisation, Mumbai, for procuring spares from a foreign firm on 'Propriety Article Certificate' basis, even though the spares were available indigenously at a much lesser cost resulting in extra expenditure of Rs 2.43 crore.

Lack of due diligence on the part of Material Organisation, Visakhapatnam, in analaysing specification while placing purchase order led to excess procurement of cables and resultant avoidable expenditure of Rs 1.03 crore.

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