The project was to be completed in two phases. In the first phase, the 57.4 km stretch between Singamperumal Kovil and Sriperumbudur, and Vandalur and Walajabad was to be converted into fourlane at the cost of Rs 300 crore. In the second phase, 40.6 km of state highways 57 and 48 were to be widened to six lanes at a cost of Rs 391.46 crore.
The first phase was approved in 2006 but by the time of 95 per cent was completed by 2017, the cost escalated to Rs 612.82 crore – more than double the sanctioned amount.
The delay was due to the delay in land acquisition, and in paying compensation to land owners. As per the Standard Data Book of the PWD, 325 days were earmarked for completing the land acquisition process. Though the same yardstick was applied, the land acquisition for the Oragadam project was not completed even till 2017.
The 325-day period included 180 days of determination and payment of compensation to the land owners but there was delay in giving compensation to the land owners from 179 days to 2,374 days – roughly 6.5 years. Because of this, the government suffered a loss of Rs 41.22 crore.
The state Highways Department incurred expenditure of Rs 91.56 lakh for maintaining the road and carrying out repair from 2012 to 2016. According to the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tender Rules, 2000, the Tamil Nadu Road Infrastructure Development Corporation had to obtain performance guarantee (PG) from the contractors. But the Corporation collected the amount only for two years, resulting in undue benefit to contractors to the tune of Rs 5.6 crore.
The Oragadam project was executed by 15 contractors, out of whom seven agreed to supply 10 AC cars and drivers for the officials which amounted to a total of Rs 84.19 lakh, which the CAG deemed “unwarranted and wasteful".