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And Now…..Pillar Box Scam in Haryana

And Now…..Pillar Box Scam in Haryana, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

9th August 2014

Naya Haryana

Scams in Haryana don't seem to end. In the latest scam that has just come to light, the Chief Engineer of Dakshin Haryana Bijili Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), Subhash Deswal, along with six other officials, has been suspended on account of malpractice in tenders released for purchase of meter pillar boxes.

There have been several complaints received by the state government regarding malfunctioning of electricity meters installed in people's homes. In addition, there were several instances where these meters were reportedly tampered to lower electricity bills. To fight this, the DHBVN came out with a proposal to shift all meters from inside consumer's premises to electricity poles, in order to minimise the cases of meter tampering.

Unfortunately, this also presented an opportunity for some corrupt officials in DHBVN to make money and so they decided to negotiate with a few private companies that were manufacturing and dealing in meter pillar boxes and decided to issue limited tenders to them, which is against the rules that require the tender bids to be invited through open tender.

So this group of officials went against the rules and awarded contracts worth Rs. 244 crore to these few select companies. All without following the due process of open tender, as required by law.

This came to light as a result of an internal vigilance probe conducted by Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN). HVPN has now decided to extend the investigation to all circles that come under DHBVN.

According to MS Mann, HVPN Director (Vigilance), who headed the probe, there were four companies who have benefited from this limited tender process with Ishwar Metal Industry bagging the maximum orders of supply of meter pillar boxes. The total contracts awarded are worth Rs. 244 crore, with the order break-up received by these select companies as follows:

Ishwar Metal Industry: Rs. 171.91 crore

Agarwal Traders: Rs. 47.76 crore

Saini Electricals: Rs. 21.22 crore

JR Transformers: Rs. 3.71 crore

The full extent of the scam will be understood once the probe is completed across all circles.

The above scam raises several questions. How is it that these officials could go about issuing orders worth Rs. 244 crore without the knowledge of senior officials at the state headquarters? Did they have unofficial sanction from the top? Who else benefitted from this, as this could not have been pulled off at the level of Chief Engineer alone? Is anyone at the political level involved? How is it that the Chief Minister's office did not have a clue when Rs. 244 crore was being sanctioned for release? Why were questions not asked at any level?

Haryana has suffered a lot due to repeated scams coming to light and all at the cost of tax payer's hard earned money that has made its way into select people's pockets. Why should the common man have to pay for this? When will Haryana awaken and follow a path of clean governance?

Just the other day, an honest IAS officer, Pradeep Kasni was shunted out of office to a relatively insignificant post, just because he questioned the appointments to critical posts of persons who were apparently related to the present Chief Minister and who were not qualified to hold these posts. This IAS officer has had to endure 60 transfers in his 30 years of service. Is this the Haryana that we wish to see?

It's for the people of Haryana to awaken and raise their voice against corruption in all its forms. It is time for the people to say NO to corruption. As long as you stand strong there is hope for a Naya Haryana.

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