Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 30
Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEBL) Employee Union has alleged a scam in laying of 33kV cable in the Atal Tunnel.
- The rates awarded to contractor were inflated
- Rates of some items around 100 times higher
- The department cleared Rs1.25 lakh for termination kit, its market price is Rs18,000
- The market price of straight joint is Rs35,000, but Rs1.35 lakh has been cleared
In a complaint submitted to Additional Chief Secretary (Power) RD Dhiman, the union has alleged that the rates for the job awarded to the contractor were inflated, around 100 times higher in some items used for the work. It has demanded a committee comprising electrical, civil and accounts personnel to investigate the matter.
“The work was awarded to a Kangra-based contractor. The department has cleared a bill of Rs 88.29 lakh for the job, while it should have been much lower given the market rate of the items,” says HL Verma, secretary of the union.
“The department, for instance, has cleared Rs 1.25 lakh for a termination kit, while its market price is Rs 18,000. The market rate of stay wire is Rs 75 per kg, while Rs 7,500 per kg as the price has been cleared. The market price of a straight joint is 35,000, but Rs 1.35 lakh had been cleared,” says Verma.
HPSEBL MD Pankaj Dadwal says the report has been sought from the field staff. “The payment will be made only for the work the contractor has done. If any irregularity is found in the process, strict action will be taken,” said Dadwal. “However, the kits used in the job are not the regular ones. GIS kits have been used and they are expensive,” the MD adds.
The union, however, is sure that irregularities have been committed while awarding the work and in its implementation. It even alleges collusion between department officials and the contractor. “The tender does not mention the distance over which the cable was to be laid. If the distance is not known, how was the cost calculated? It shows connivance between the official and the beneficiary,” alleges Verma.
The union alleges that the contractor was paid for the work that the BRO had already done. “The BRO has done diamond cutting on the RCC wall but Rs 8.96 lakh has been paid to the contractor,” says Verma. The department isn’t doing enough to check corruption, he alleges.