India

Concerned Minister owe an explanation over delay in fixing responsibility for damage

golden yug
[ September 05, 2017 ] In a live example of how the tax payer’s money is taken care of in J&K, State Govt held no one responsible for washed away work worth Rs 3,0633,554 in Aug 2016 flash flood. It deserves mentioning here that the work allotted and carried out by Contractor Kewal Krishan vide allotment No IFCJ/W/11250-53 Dated 09-09-2015 worth Rs 30633554 for permanent protection to Island U/S Barrage Abutment by way of constructing concrete walling along right bank of Jammu Tawi adjoining with Fourth bridge Jammu was washed away during the rainy season of Aug 2016 due to use of substandard material. The concerned Minister Ch Sham Lal visited the spot and came to know that work worth more than Rs 3 crores washed away and to fix the responsibility for the loss to Govt exchequer, he directed the Chief Engineer irrigation and flood Jammu to constitute the enquiry Committee vide order No. 153-E of 2016 dated 8-8-2016 to report within fortnight time including damage of pillar washed away of guide bund of auto mechanically operated gated barrage across River Tawi Jammu allotted to M/s GVR Infra Project Limited, Plot No 231, Swami Ayyapa Society, Madhopur, Hyderabad VIDE allotment letter order No IFCJ/W/5467-72 Dated 04-08-2010 by the Chief Engineer I& FC Jammu at the cost of Rs 69.70 crores against the quoted amount of Firm Rs 70.50 crores. Meanwhile the Secretary to Govt PHE irrigation and flood control vide order No 251 dated 12-08-2016 attached the Anil Sharma then incharge executive engineer irrigation division first Jammu, Satpal Incharge Assistant Executive Engineer Subdivision Tawi Island, Suresh Kumar Incharge Assistant engineer irrigation subdivision Tawi Island with the office of Chief Engineer irrigation and flood control Jammu with immediate effect. Accordingly Chief Engineer constituted committee comprising RK Gupta then Superintendent Engineer Hydraulic Circle Jammu as Chairman, the executive engineers Ashok Sharma, SR Shukla and Sunil Bashin as members. The Committee submitted its report to Chief Engineer but surprisingly it did not hold anybody responsible for more than three crores worth work and on the contrary, the committee held responsible the flash flood and rain for the damage without raising any finger towards the quality of work despite the fact that the protection wall got broken in three pieces like the branch of tree and also uprooting the pillar of mechanically operated gated barrage part of the work allotted to M/s GVR Infra Project Limited, Plot No 231, Swami Ayyapa Society, Madhopur, Hyderabad. So far neither anybody has been held responsible nor has the work been started after that. as the construction work of above two projects was going on under their supervision and also asked Chief Engineer to initiate an enquiry against them to find out cause of damage and accordingly fixing responsibility. The damaged pillar was the part of project whose total cost was 69.70 crores and 5735.53 lacs worth of payment has already been released up to 2015-16 and this project which has been going on from Aug 2010 by M/s GVR Infra Project Limited Plot No 231 Swami Ayyapa Society, Madhopur Hyderabad and is still in progress. There was also damage to permanent protection to island U/S barrage abutment by way of constructing walling along right bank of River Tawi Jammu which was allotted to Kewal Krishan * A* Class contractor from Shakti Nagar Jammu at the cost of Rs 30633554 vide IFCJ/W/ 11250-53 Dated 09-09-2015 to be completed in 90 daysincluding bad weather days and in case project is delayed the contractor will have to pay 0.05% ( 5% of total cost) to be paid everyday to the irrigation authority . However other portion of damaged structure part of the permanent protection to island U/S barrage abutment by way of constructing walling along right bank of River Tawi Jammu where the protection wall collapsed in two heavy pieces from the base of protection wall. The hard earned public money got washed away with the collapse of protection wall. The constituted committee submitted the report to Chief Engineer on 22-08-2016 and thereafter the same was sent by Chief Engineer to the secretary to Govt, PHE, Irrigation and flood control Srinagar on 31-08-2016. In a clear cut example of passing the buck the enquiry committee report has come out with some bizarre explanation saying that some expert committee be constituted by the Govt to find out the exact cause of damage to structure having expertise in design and execution of the similar hydraulic structure. Moreover it has recommended some unusual parameters including design factors and design- calculations used to fix various components, Co-relation between construction drawing and design calculations. Actual execution of site as per construction drawings and design calculations (Control of quantities and quality of works at site and reports thereof. Damaged structures should be got rectified from the respective contractors as per their contract clause. The duly designed protection work should be immediately constructed at site including upstream right side guide bund on River Tawi Jammu. The hydraulic work in the river beds should not remain half completed otherwise they are always liable for heavy flood damages. It seems the enquiry report to fix the responsibility was mere eyewash as the recommendation made now should have been made prior to 2nd time damage to structure. The report passing the buck has not fixed responsibility on any one concerned neither the executive agency nor the departmental officials under whose supervision the construction work was going on and ultimately damaged in flood. But the public money which washed away with the collapse of structure has not marked as whose carelessness and ignorance did so. It seems that no enquiry has been done and the report has been compiled in close door room as no explanation letter has been sought from EE Anil Sharma thereby making an attempt to shield the departmental officials. As so far the exact reasons for damage to structure has not been notified and no responsibility has been fixed on any one attached with the project. Attached executive engineer, Anil Sharma in a letter to head of the enquiry committee did not give the reason for cause of damage to structure and in fact recommended issuing a sum of Rs 385.40 lacs for restoration work citing the reasons that for the safety of existing barrage and remaining protection wall on the right bank of Nikki tawi, otherwise there is every apprehension of further damages during coming rains/ flash floods of even minor/ medium magnitude in addition to already sanctioned cost of the project 69.70 crores and Rs 30633554 . The same has been recommended by enquiry committee to Govt for the consideration of the same. However after raising of fingers over the outcome of enquiry Committee report by media, the enquiry instead of handing over to some other independent agency to ascertain the facts, once again given to Chief Engineer Flood as an act of mere eye wash simply because after such a huge loss of tax payers money EE Anil Sharma was only attached and not suspended as he failed to give reasons for the washed away structure. Now taking cognizance of the media reports which consistently questioned the findings of Enquiry Committee report, few months’ back Vigilance Organization took the further proceedings of the case into its own hands and as a part of preliminary enquiry seized the record to verify the facts in public domain. Assurance and direction of concerned Minister to restart the work few days back is welcome step but at the same time, it becomes the moral responsibility of Minister to first of all take the enquiry to its logical conclusion and punish the wrongdoers otherwise there will be no guarantee that this time again the quality of work will not be compromised. Besides the delay so far in restart of work has badly shattered the sentiments of Jammuites who are deeply attached with the completion of highly ambitious Artificial Lake Project which has already missed several deadlines adding agony of the aggrieved people whose wait is prolonging again and again. It is therefore painful on part of concerned authorities who deliberately failed to fix responsibilities of the damage occurred to structure and the public money lost. Not fixing the responsibility and passing the buck confirms something fishy in the deals and also in enquiry committee report. There is no mention that whether the sample of damaged structure was sent to lab to testify the proper ratio in the construction as per the norms of building and construction. Delay in start of reconstruction of damaged structure shows concern of the Govt as a considerable time has already lost and with in short span there will be arrival of rainy season and it may further damage the existing structure resulting in huge loss of public money. In the light of above facts, one can hope that Vigilance investigation will punish the culprits so that the loss that has caused to exchequer be fixed either on executive body or the company as so far the enquiry committees have been only an eyewash and if positive investigation is conducted then it will definitely alert the contractor whosoever under takes the work to do it honestly and professionally and also in wake of yet another rainy season fast approaching, the authorities should make sure that the work be completed in time so that curiosity of public may ends and also to avoid any inconvenience to general public without any fault of them.