2nd instance of intentionally damaging Govt infrastructure
JAMMU, Apr 4: Close on the heels of CAG report establishing failure of the Legal Metrology Department to utilize mobile cranes fitted with weigh-bridge testing kits provided by Government of India, more skeletons are tumbling out of the LMD cupboard.
In yet another instance of intentionally damaging and idling of the Government infrastructure, a Mobile Testing Van remained dumped for the last 13 years under a conspiracy to benefit erring business community and now taking serious notice of the issue, the Controller Legal Metrology, Jammu and Kashmir has recommended CBI or Crime Branch investigation into the matter.
The purpose of this Mobile Test Van (LP Tata 407) was to carry- out on spot inspection for ascertaining the net content of the packaged commodities and for carrying the other standard equipment in the field for testing/checking / calibration of the Weights/Measures possessed by various business/industrial establishments, as per the standards fixed by the Government.
Two such Mobile Testing Vans were gifted by Government of India , one for Jammu Division and another for Kashmir Division, under the scheme `Strengthening the Infrastructure of Legal Metrology’, in the year 2005.
As per the official record, the vehicle provided to Jammu Division and registered with the Transport Department under registration number JK02X-4071, met with a minor accident in the year 2008 and it was accordingly transported to M/s Fairdeal Motors Works Pvt Ltd, Gangyal for necessary repair.
Even as the vehicle was fully insured with New India Assurance Company, an amount of Rs 99000 was paid in advance to the workshop, reveals the departmental investigations, adding that the vehicle was not extensively damaged and could have been repaired within 15-20 days but neither it was repaired nor received by the department till date.
As the issue was viewed seriously by the higher authorities, the department took up the matter with the Fairdeal Motors vide communication number LM/C-Acctts/69/2009, dated 10-08-2020 and requested to explain the reasons for not making the vehicle roadworthy and return to the department.
In response, Fairdeal Motors, vide its communication dated 12-12-2020, replied that their technical team assessed the condition of the vehicle on 12-12-2020 and came to the conclusion that said vehicle was un-serviceable and can’t be made roadworthy.
“It is stated that the said vehicle was grounded with effect from financial year 2010-11 and almost all of its main spare parts have been depreciated/rusted to its non-repairable condition. However, it is further informed and placed for your information that the vehicle was made functional in the year 2010-11 but due to the un-responsiveness of the department officials, it remained grounded in our premises despite repeated requests from our side to take the said vehicle.
Hence, it is not advisable for the repairing as no warranty can be provided for satisfactory functioning of the said vehicle. Further, the department had deposited Rs 99000 as repairing charges in advance and Rs 1.36 lakh is still pending,” read the formal reply by Fairdeal Motors.
Before this communication was received, Legal Metrology Department again discussed the issue on December 8, 2020, during a meeting under the chairmanship of Advisor Farooq Khan who directed to again take up the matter with Fairdeal Motors and accordingly vide office letter number LM/C-Acctts/69/2009, dated 10-12-2020, the workshop was asked: `If there is any possibility to repair the vehicle, then this office may be informed about the overall repair charges and warranty of the vehicle.”
However, in fresh communications, dated 20-01-2021 and 01-02-2021, Fairdeal Motors suddenly changed its statement and affirmed that they can make the vehicle roadworthy against additional cost of Rs 80 thousands with 5-10 percent variation. Besides, they also assured that the parking charges will be waived off and they will also provide standard warranty of the spare parts used for reconditioning of the vehicle.
Surprised over the sudden change in statement and in order to ascertain the actual position, sources said that Controller Legal Metrology M Akbar Wani along with Dy Controller S S Lab recently visited the premises of the workshop. While checking condition of the vehicle, it emerged that the external features of the vehicle do not indicate any kind of major accident or repair work done, official sources told the Excelsior.
These facts make it clear that the vehicle was neither extensively damaged nor repaired in actual while an amount of Rs 0.99 lakh paid in advance from Government treasury was swindled, sources added.
Suspecting a conspiracy between the erring business community and officials of the department, Controller Legal Metrology, J&K has strongly recommended that the matter should be investigated through CBI or Crime Branch.
“This is the second similar type of issue, which has surfaced in the Legal Metrology J&K and therefore there is very apprehension that the damaging/idling of the Government infrastructure is not accidental, but a deliberate one. There is every chance that a conspiracy might have/had been hatched by the erring business community, in collaboration with the officers/officials of the department, who do not want their business establishments should be forced to work as per the standards set by the Government,” read the communication, dated 31-03-2021, forwarded by M Akbar Wani, Controller Legal Metrology to the Commissioner Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, J&K Government.
“Keeping above fact into consideration and to bolt deterrence for future, it is recommended that the matter may kindly be investigated through CBI or Crime Branch,” further read the communication.