ACB registers case against Town Drainage Division officials for ‘substandard works’

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JAMMU: Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Doda has registered a case against the officials of Town Drainage Division, Jammu for using substandard material in the construction of concrete bund at Kutan nallah Thathri, in Doda district and excess payment drawn for removing the debris.

“A case was registered under FIR No 03/2019 u/s 5(1)(d) r/w 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act Svt 2006 & sections 120-B RPC against Rajesh Gupta, the then Executive Engineer, Town Drainage Division, Jammu, Subash Chander, the then AEE, Town Drainage Division, Jammu, Kuldeep Kumar Koul, JE, Town Drainage Division, Jammu and contractor Mansoor R/o Thathri on the basis of a Joint Surprise Check (JSC) conducted into the allegations for use of substandard material in the construction of concrete bund at Kutan nallah Thathri, district Doda and excess payment drawn for removing the debris accumulated in the said nallah due to flash flood in the month of July 2017 by Executive Engineer, UEED, Doda,” a ACB statement issued here said.

During the JSC, the statement said, it was surfaced that the construction work was executed by Executive Engineer, Town Drainage Division, Jammu for which a detailed estimate amounting to Rs 127 Lakh including 21 lakh for its temporary restoration was submitted to Director, Urban Local Bodies, Jammu.

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The Director, Urban Local Bodies, Jammu released a sum of Rs 50 lacs and placed same at the disposal of Executive Engineer, Town Drainage Division, Jammu. The work was put to tender vide NIT No 07/PLAN of 2017-18 dated 20.09.2017 for estimated cost of Rs 7.01 lakhs for a length of only 12 mtrs work which was allotted to L-1 contractor namely Mansoor Ahmed R/O Thathri on negotiable amount of Rs 7,84,897 vide allotment No TDD/J/998-1001 dated 06.10.2017. Thereafter another short notice tender was advertised vide e-NIT No.30/2017-18 dated 27.12.2017 for estimated cost of Rs 28.72 lakh for a length of 48 mtr work which was allotted to the same contractor on negotiable amount of Rs 32, 23,073 vide allotment No TDD/J/1828-31 dated 10.01.2018 by the Executive Engineer, Town Drainage Division, Jammu, being lowest tenderer. Two payment orders were released in favour of the contractor i.e Rs 7,16,549 and Rs 26,43,550 against the allotted works and after deducting the applicable taxes he received net amount of Rs 32,92,897.

Enquiry also revealed that as per the agreement, the contractor was under obligation to use Tar Steel of “SAIL”/ “TATA” brand but during the spot inspection and testing from Material Testing Laboratory, DIQC, Canal Road Jammu, it was found that the Tar Steel actually used was of local brand i.e “Satyam” & “Jhelum” which is cheaper by about Rs. 700/- per quintal thereby compromising with the quality/ specifications for their pecuniary benefits.

It was further revealed by the Rebound Hammer Test, which was conducted through experts of Material Testing Laboratory, Nagrota and the test report received from Executive Engineer, PWD (R&B) Const. Div No.II Jammu that the compressive strength of RCC work of said nallah is of average compressive strength against the minimum compressive strength of 15N/mm2.

During spot inspection, the thickness of the bed slab (M-15 grade) had been found 0.20 mtr against the 0.40 mtr charged. The RCC walls at left/ right side of said nallah at some R.D’s also showed less compressive strength and some minor cracks had also been observed on RCC walling of nallah during spot inspection which clearly show execution of poor quality of work, substandard and under specification. Enquiry also revealed that the payment of Rs 21, 00,387/- had been paid for removing of malba (temporary restoration) of said nallah through same contractor departmentally and in this regard the then Executive Engineer, Town Drainage Division, Jammu submitted the work done claim to Director, Urban Local Bodies, Jammu ( i.e for removing of malba) of Rs 21.00 lacs for 150 mtr length and the full payment has been drawn for a length of 67 mtr upstream work done claim and 50 mtr downstream work done claim of the nallah i,e total 117 mtr but received payment against 150 mtrs. Thus, the above named engineers the then posted in Town Drainage Division, Jammu by abuse and misuse of their official position & in league with contractor namely Mansoor Ahmed allowed execution of poor quality, substandard and under specification work at said nallah by inflecting a loss of Rs 32,92,897 upon state exchequer as per the facts emerged so far. The investigation of the case has been taken-up.