Soiru Velip | NT
In what seems to be yet another scam, it has come to light that the public works department (PWD) has been hiring a number of vehicles for its divisions, sub-divisions and circle offices spending over Rs 10 crore per annum without proper check on usage of the vehicles nor are the engineers and officials made accountable with many using the vehicles even after office hours.
As per information received by ‘The Navhind Times’, as on date as many as 184 vehicles are hired by PWD for its 25 divisions under the guise of maintenance for a period of one year, which has been renewed after completion of period.
Interestingly, PWD division XVII situated at Porvorim has hired a vehicle for the office of the Chief Secretary.
It appears that the standard guidelines on hiring vehicles are not followed as various types of vehicles including Bolero jeep, Innova cars, and so on are hired.
There are 25 divisions, and 75 sub-divisions besides 12 circle offices under the PWD which adds up to 112 offices with a total of 184 vehicles hired.
Sources said that as per norms, only tourist taxi vehicles can be hired; however, in many places, private cars are found to be hired for some divisions of the department.
Further, as per the government norms, when any officer or engineer concerned uses official or a hired vehicle during duty he or she is not entitled for travel allowance. However, sources revealed that excluding few most of the engineers and officials using the hired vehicles, most of them also avail monthly travel allowances.
It is also learnt from reliable sources that even some senior officials of the department are in possession of two or more hired vehicles which are mostly used for personal works.
Interestingly, out of 184 vehicles that have been
hired by the department, most are from Ponda taluka.
As per government norms, the department can hire vehicles for specific purposes for a period of six months or one year according to the urgency of the work by floating open tenders. However, there is neither proper check done on the hiring of vehicles by PWD and their use by different officials nor are they made accountable.
A senior official in the state administration said that there should be proper check on hiring of vehicles as it involves public money and when the state treasury is facing crunch, the departments should avoid unwanted expenditure in the name of maintenance works or other things.
The official also wondered over the number of vehicles that have hired by PWD as in many cases the contractor companies, National Highways Authority of India have been providing their vehicles.