SRINAGAR, Aug 27: A scandal has surfaced in the office of the Commissioner Relief and Rehabilitation (M) where works worth around Rs one crore have been executed for last one year without inviting tenders and fulfillment of codal formalities.
While seeking approval (under communication Nos. RRCM/E/ 3250-51 and RRCM/E/ 3262-63 dated 02-03-2018) from Commissioner/ Secretary for release of payment to contractors for 32 works executed at migrant camps of Baramulla, Nathnussa Kupwara, Mattan Anantnag, Vessu Anantnag, Jagti, Bhagwati Nagar and Shastri Nagar in Jammu and Relief Commissioner’s Office during last year for Rs 92.89 lakhs, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner has said that directions for such works have been given by the Minister and higher authorities.
“During the visit of the former Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation and other higher authority to various migrant camps in Jammu and Kashmir valley, on the spot instructions were given for undertaking the works as the inhabitants of these camps pressed the authorities for works of emergent nature on war footing basis”, read the letters of the Relief Commissioner.
However, there is no record of the dignitaries who had issued such instructions and the place where such instructions were issued. The Administrative Department has also not sought such details before ordering release of payments.
The Commissioner has shown works for laying of ceramic and wooden tiles, replacement of electric gadgets, construction of septic tanks and other normal works as those of emergency nature. Even the repairs carried out in the office of Relief Commissioner have been shown as emergency works.
As per the procedures laid down by the Finance Department there is no provision for executing works without inviting tenders and such method can be adopted only in case some emergency services like connectivity, electricity, water supply, health infrastructure get damaged and works without tender can be taken up only for its temporary restoration and for permanent restoration normal process of tendering has to be followed.
Such provision is only available for restoration works which are carried out during natural disasters and Deputy Commissioner is the only authority who can authorise taking up of works without inviting tenders.
Out of these untendered works- executed without Administrative Approval, budgetary provisions and approved estimates- 22 have been executed by a single contractor.
And in some cases Relief Commissioner himself has allotted (vide his communication RRCM/SD-I/44-48 dated 19-9-2017) at least three works amounting to around Rs 7 lakhs to a contractor. Normally all allotments whether tendered or untendered have to be made by Executive Engineer.
Sources said that the works executed without tenders had started after June 2017 when an Assistant Engineer from Housing Department joined the Relief Commissioner’s office. He has been asked by Government to look after the works of Relief Organisation in Kashmir only, but in violation of Government order, he supervises works in Jammu as well.