Govt orders inquiry into multi-crore solar lights scam

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, May 13: Government has ordered an inquiry into a multi-crore scam that surfaced in Science and Technology Department where guidelines of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India (GoI), were illegally changed to procure lights and equipment worth over Rs 200 crore for solar power.
The General Administration Department (GAD) has formed (Govt order No. 519 GAD of 2019 Dated 23-04-2019) a six member inquiry committee to examine issues relating to purchase of Model-IV Solar Home Lights instead of Model-II by the Science and Technology Department and other related issues.
The Principal Secretary to the Government, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department has been made chairman of the committee and others including Commissioner Secretary to the Government Power Development Department, Secretary to the Government GAD, Secretary to the Government Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Secretary to the Government Science and Technology Department and representative of Principal Secretary Finance Department as members.
Excelsior had exposed the multi-crore scam last year in October but Government was in slumber and some top officials were trying to save those involved in over Rs 200 crore scam.
It may be mentioned here that Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), the MNRE, Government of India (GoI), sanctioned over Rs 200 crore for the Solar Street Lighting System (SSLS), Solar Home Systems Model-II and installation of roof top solar power plants.
The contract for the supply of Solar Home Systems was given to M/S Maharishi Solar Technology (P) Limited while Solar Street Lighting System (SSLS) contract was given to M/S Social Engineering Dehradun and the roof top solar power plants were given to 21 companies against the guidelines of the Ministry and without following codal formalities.
The Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency, Science and Technology Department had placed Orders in favour of M/S Maharishi Solar Technology (P) Limited for supply and maintenance of 61000 Solar Home Systems Model-IV @ Rs 6700 per system. However, the MNRE had given sanction for the purchase of 84000 SHS Model-II only and Model-IV was purchased at higher rates to benefit the M/S Maharishi Solar Technology (P) Limited and was against the GoI guidelines.
However, the detailed project report submitted to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, HLS Module-II was proposed by JAKEDA and subsequently in the sanction order Dated: 29-02-2016 funds were allocated as per Model-II only and not Model-IV.
The Finance Department has lasted year asked the Science and Technology Department to conduct the enquiry into the matter and fix the responsibilities but they are sleeping over it as according to sources they are trying to shield the culprits.
Besides this, there is also a scam in the installation of roof top solar power plants over Rs 150 crore where tendering and other norms have been grossly violated and work allotted to favourite parties without inviting tenders.