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Procurement of pipes by PHE deptt
Inquiry panel finds bunglings in purchases
JAMMU, May 11: A high-level inquiry committee probing the details of irregularities in purchase of composite pipes by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department during the past few years when Taj Mohiuddin was the minister incharge has found irregularities in procurement of these pipes.

Official sources said that the 3-members committee–headed by Financial Advisor /CAO PHE/I&FC Department–has submitted its report to the state government indicting the Procurement Division of the PHE Department for alleged irregularities in purchase of PE AL PE composite pipes.

Though the panel has found that no such pipes were procured by the department in Kashmir division, the purchases in Jammu were made from the agency, which did not even participate in the tendering process.

The issue had created a storm in both houses of state legislature during the budget session after present PHE minister Sham Lal Sharma, who is at loggerheads with Taj Mohiuddin, who held PHE portfolio earlier, made shocking revelations alleging that there were gross irregularities in procurement of pipes in the department.

To go into the details of the alleged irregularities, the government had ordered a probe on April 2, 2013 and constituted a three member committee. The Committee, in its report has strongly objected to the sudden shift from procurement of GI pipes to composite pipes by the department observing, “The performance of the composite pipes was not obtained prior to major shift of exchanging the GI pipe requirement with composite pipes.”

“The comparison of the prices of two types of pipes reveals that traditionally GI pipes, used for years, are cheaper. The price comparison will further get enhanced in case the fitting is 7 to 10 times costlier than GI piples.”

“Division was taken to procure composite pipes of similar diameter although the cost of these pipes was 20 percent higher than GI pipes as per prevailing market rates thereby leading to additional burden on state exchequer”, the inquiry report said.

“The composite pipes were actually made available after six months of the decision of the purchase committee thereby jeopardizing the urgency claimed”.

The inquiry committee has also found irregularity in purchase orders as the tenders in favour of the lowest bidder was cancelled and instead the purchases were made from the agency which even did not participated in the tendering process.

“The decision of the purchase committee members during meeting dated 18-02-2012 was totally contradictory than the earlier decision of Purchase Committee meeting dated 16-12-2011 to procure the composite pipes KITEC branch of same specification at prevailing rates from a firm Gas Master, who had not participated in the tendering process. The full quorum was not present in the meeting dated 18-02-2012 and the reason of absence of Chief Accounts Officer (only representative from finance) or his dissent if any has not been recorded in the minutes of Purchase Committee Meeting”.

The committee further claimed that performance report of already issued composite pipes to various division was requisitioned by it but none of the divisions, except Samba, has furnished the details.

“As regards purchase of such pipes by PHE division Kashmir, the Executive Engineer, PHE M&P, Division Srinagar vide his letter No PHE/M&P/46 dated 16-04-2013 has stated that no purchase of any quantity of Multilayer Polyethylene (PE-AL-PE) Composite pipes have been made by them”, the inquiry report added.
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News Updated at : Sunday, May 12, 2013
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