Loots State exchequer of lakhs
JAMMU, June 26: In a major scam, more than two-dozen non-gazetted employees working in various sections of Directorate of Health Services Jammu have been fraudulently drawing 2½ days salary for last many years, thus looting the State exchequer of lakhs of rupees with impunity.
The scam came into light through the replies furnished in response to the RTI applications filed by an RTI activist in last two-three years, seeking information regarding employees of various sections of Directorate of Health Services Jammu drawing 2 ½ days salary and attendance record of the beneficiaries.
In the RTI replies, the copies of which are in possession of Excelsior, it was disclosed that a large number of employees including Pharmacists, Senior Health Inspectors (SHIs), Junior Health Inspectors (JHIs), Basic Health Workers (BHWs), Electrician, Packer, Class IV employees, Chowkidaars, etc have been drawing 2 ½ days salary. But when attendance record of these employees (received in RTI replies) was checked, it was found that none of them had attended their duties on Sunday and other holidays.
According to Government Order No 579-HME of 2007 dated 30-8-2007, 2 ½ day allowance incentive can only be drawn in favour of those Non-Gazetted employees who do not avail Sundays and other holidays in performance of their official duties in various Health/Medical Institutions and are working as per duty roster.
However, these employees neither attended official duties on Sundays nor on other holidays which is evident from the copies of their daily attendance register provided to the RTI activist by the department itself. But despite that they have been drawing 2½ days salary with impunity, which is apparently not possible without involvement of concerned clerks and DDOs.
As per the RTI replies, the illegal beneficiaries included Surinder Chadha (Head Pharmacist), Rajinder Pal Singh (Supervisor Pharmacist), Raman Anand (Junior Pharmacist), Ravinder Singh (Electrician), Karan Singh (Packer), Des Raj (Chowkidar), Vijay Kumar (Chowkidar) and Ramesh Kumar (Chowkidar), all working in Provincial Medical Stores, Jammu.
The beneficiaries also included Vinod Kumar (SHI), Angrez Singh (SHI), Uttam Lal (JHI), Bansi Lal (JHI), Janak Raj (BHW), Varyam Massih (BHW), Rakesh Kumar (BHW), Sumir Ji (BHW), Ranjeet Lal (BHW), Krishan Dutt (BHW) of Malaria Section and Rakesh Kumar Khajuria (Head Pharmacist), Bahadur Singh (Senior Pharmacist), Shaffkat Hussain (Junior Pharmacist), Kulraj Kumar (Nursing Orderly), Supriya Chibber (Class IV employee), Shamsher Singh (Health Educator) and Pawan Singh (JHI).
According to the RTI responses, these illegal beneficiaries have till date looted the State exchequer of lakhs of rupees. For example, a sum of about Rs 1,55,817 has been illegally drawn from July 2013 to December 2017 alone by Shamsher Singh Chib (Health Educator) from PHC Chowki Choura (Jammu) where as he is attached with CMO Office Jammu while Shafkat Hussain withdrew Rs 1.60 lakh (from October 2009 to January 2017) and Pawan Singh drew Rs 0.725 lakh (from September 2012 to January 2017).
The RTI activist claimed that he got this information from the concerned authorities after repeated appeals as concerned PIOs tried to hide/deny the information for obvious reasons. To prove his claim, he cited that the then CMO Jammu, Dr Robinder Khajuria vide his office letter No CMO/J/RTI/9627-28 dated 16-2-2017 disclosed that Shafkat Hussain, Junior Pharmacist (working in Medical Fitness Section) and Pawan Singh, JHI (working in Death/Birth Record Section) had drawn 2.5 days salary from January 2015 to January 2017 but in another RTI reply vide his office letter No CMO/J/RTI/24-25, the CMO disclosed that while Shafkat Hussain drew the same from October 2009 to January 2017, Pawan Singh drew it from September 2012 to January 2017.
Similarly, he said, Controller of Stores (Health, Jammu) denied him information regarding 2 ½ days salary paid to some employees working in stores from the date of their joining, vide his office letter No COS(H)/J/972-73 dated 15-10-2018, stating that the employees whose information has been sought, have stated not to disclose the information regarding their salaries as it is their personal information.
While hearing his 2nd appeal, the RTI activist said that the State Information Commissioner (SIC), Jammu, vide Decision No SIC/J/A/176/2018/432 dated 4-2-2019 had advised the Director, Health Services, Jammu as Head of Public Authority, to treat his RTI application as a complaint and get the matter enquired. However, the Director did not bother to act on the advice of the SIC.
He said the names of illegal beneficiaries which have come to fore till date is just the tip of an iceberg and if a fair probe is ordered, many more names will come to the fore.
When contacted, Director, Health Services Jammu, Dr Sameer Mattoo, said that a committee has been constituted to probe the matter but he failed to specify any time frame for completion of the probe.