CAPD Deptt sleeping over major kerosene oil distribution scam

*3-member committee fails to submit report
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 25: Indicating that its way of working has not improved despite serious concerns from various quarters including High Court, the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Department is sleeping over the major kerosene oil distribution scam detected in Udhampur in the month of August last year. Instead of initiating action on the findings of the Deputy Commissioner, the department has dumped the issue by constituting a committee, which has not come up with its report till date.
The kerosene oil distribution scam involving officials of the CAPD Department and private depot owners came to the fore after the District Development Commissioner vide Order No.750-60/relief dated July 28, 2015 constituted a committee of officers to enquire into the prevalent system of kerosene oil distribution in the district.
This decision was based on inputs from certain quarters that private depot owners had developed a well knit nexus with the concerned officials of the CAPD Department and due to their conspiracy majority of kerosene oil meant for the common masses was being black-marketed.
The committee Vide communication No.DDCU/Enq-K.Oil/2015-16/7584 dated August 27, 2015 submitted its findings to the Deputy Commissioner Udhampur, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who after analyzing the report of the committee forwarded the same to the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department for necessary and prompt action as several glaring instances had been unraveled by the committee.
The committee had mentioned in the report that Cooperative Societies and CAPD Department distributed 1.03 crore liters of oil during last three years (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15). Out of total kerosene oil distributed, 23.34 lakh liters was distributed by Cooperative Department and 80.58 lakh litres by the CAPD Department. While there was proper record of distribution of kerosene oil through Cooperative Societies, no sale centre wise record was available in respect of kerosene oil distribution by the CAPD Department through private depots.
“Non-availability of centre wise record clearly establishes that distribution was made without observing any codal procedure and totally in violation of the laid down norms”, reads the report while mentioning that no physical verification of such centres was ever conducted by the CAPD Department, which points towards well-knit nexus.
The committee had also revealed that only 22% of the allotment has been made in favour of 50276 families whereas 78% of the quota has been allotted and distributed through CAPD sale centres comprising of 39,000 families only. The committee had even pointed out that no parameters are followed during allocation of quota.
However, instead of initiating action on the report submitted by the Deputy Commissioner, the CAPD Department constituted a three-member committee on the ground that it was imperative to identify all those officers and officials, who were associated with the distribution of kerosene oil in Udhampur district during last three years, before initiating action in the scam.
This committee was asked to complete the exercise as early as possible. Moreover, it was also decided that verification into distribution of kerosene oil would also be conducted in other districts also by considering the report in respect of Udhampur district as tip of an iceberg.
“However, neither this three-member committee has completed its task till date despite lapse of several months nor the department has initiated exercise to conduct verification of kerosene oil distribution in other districts”, sources said. “Due to failure of the committee to complete the task, the erring Government servants have remained unpunished till date”, they further said, adding “it seems that priority of the CAPD Department is to shield the tainted officials instead of punishing them so that such an action acts as deterrent for others”.
When contacted, a senior officer of the department confirmed that committee has not submitted its report despite reminders. “Now, the officer heading the committee has been explicitly told to complete the task within next few days so that further steps are initiated”, he added.
The officer, however, said that the recommendations made by the Deputy Commissioner Udhampur will be implemented so as to streamline the kerosene oil distribution process.


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