SMC Implemented 50 Projects, Then Invited Tenders, ACB Says

by Yawar Hussain

SRINAGAR: The Anti-Corruption Bureau has in a letter to the government revealed that Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu has ordered floating of tenders for 50 projects the works on which had already been completed. These works are located in Srinagar including the ward the Mayor represents.

Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC)

As per the letter addressed to the Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department, the ACB recommended initiation of Regular Departmental Action (RDA) against the then Executive Engineer SMC Ghulam Mohammad Dar who on the direction of the Mayor had issued NIT to legalise the works done without tenders.

The verification (ACB/Veri-SLK-22/2020-4755-57 Dated 09-03-2021) conducted by the ACB reveals that in 2019, 50 works were executed in the SMC on the direction of the Mayor and later the NIT was floated just to legalise the payments.

“Regular Departmental Action may be initiated against the delinquent public servant namely Ghulam Mohammad Dar, then EE Right River Works Division SMC Srinagar now posted in JK Housing Board as EE for adopting a wrong procedure to clear the bills of contractors,” reads the letter addressed by the Superintendent of Police ACB.

The ACB has also proposed that a fact-finding committee may be constituted to fix the responsibility of officials for non-tendered works by SMC.

“The works were put on a physical inspection by an expert team of SMC, as per the report of which the works stand executed before the publishing of NIT, thus reflects that the intention behind floating of tenders was to legalize the payments of those works,” the letter states.

Former Peoples Conference leader Junaid Azam Maattu showing victory sign after being re-elected as Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

“The NIT along with allotments were timely cancelled. In fact, the wrong procedure was adopted for clearance of payments against works so executed earlier and too without following codal formalities by the SMC authorities,” the letter reveals.

“During the course of verification, the concerned officers/officials of Right River Division SMC Srinagar were contacted. They intimated ignorance about the execution of such works prior to the publishing of NIT-14, as neither they prepared any type of DPR/estimate for a work in their area of responsibilities nor informed by any senior officer like EE etc. besides this, some of the contractors were questioned who stated to have executed such works on the direction of Junaid Matoo then-Mayor SMC Srinagar during Parliamentary election-2019,” letter states.

“By considering the whole facts found during the probe, it emerged that all the works were executed on the directions of Mayor of SMC as an election trend… For drawing payments genuinely, the Mayor directed Commissioner SMC to float tenders for works, which were already executed, pursuant to which NIT-14 was floated by Ghulam Mohammad Dar, the then EE Right River Works Division SMC Srinagar. This was done to cover up the non-tendered works. The contracts were awarded to the same contractors who had earlier executed the works. The NIT along with allotments were later on cancelled by him, after hue and cry by other contractors,” read the letter.

“The works were executed by different contractors in and around Dal Lake area. These contractors claimed payments, a meeting was conducted by Mayor SMC wherein he directed Commissioner SMC to execute the works as per the list provided, who further directed EE to execute the works as per order dated 29.10.19 with certain conditions. The EE right river works division SMC Srinagar without obtaining ground report and estimate etc, floated NIT No. 14 of 2019-20 date 9.12.19 for the works which were directed by Mayor to be executed, made allotments to contractors. The allotment of the same works were made by then EE, the other contractors started complaining and the NIT No. 14 of 2019-20 tender was subsequently cancelled,” the letter reveals.

“Allotments, however, the wrong procedure was adopted for clearance of payments against works so executed earlier and too without following codal formalities for which, the said EE namely Ghulam Mohammad Dar is responsible for departmental action,” the letter reads.

Srinagar Muncipal Corporation Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu said that his office has nothiong to do with inviting of tenders and it falls under the domain of the SMC Commissioner.

“The ACB is doing the investigation. Let them complete it. I have had nothing to do with the works in question,” Mattu said.

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