Jalandhar, August 27: Using the lamp of Right to Information (RTI) Act, an applicant has thrown light on discrepancies in the repair of roads, including Mall Road, in Jalandhar Cantonment. The roads were constructed by the Garrison Engineer (East) under Military Engineering Services (MES), Jalandhar Cantonment.
While the Commander Work Engineer (CWE) has been investigating the case on the complaint of the applicant, Jalandhar Zone Chief Engineer Ashok Kumar said he would also get the matter inquired. A copy of the complaint has been sent to Chief Engineer, Western Command, Chandimandir, Chandigarh.

In June last, applicant Ajay Kumar Sehgal, a builder, had sought information regarding all the road works executed during 2005-07 under Garrison Engineer (East) GC Chaudhary, Jalandhar Cantonment. However, he was provided information only for one road, Mall Road, and the authorities withheld rest of the data, which is a violation under the RTI as more than two months have passed since the application was filed.

While the applicant was going through the documents of road repair, he found many irregularities. The work on the road was executed in February 2006 and the cost estimated was Rs 37 lakh. The documents said the contractor procured only 28 metric tonnes of bitumen from a government agency against the actual requirement of 110 metric tonnes. When he asked them to show the bills if bitumen was procured from any other sources, they refused. Besides, no record for the consumption of any material was maintained, the applicant said, adding that only Rs 17 lakh were spent on Mall Road and record of the remaining Rs 20 lakh was not provided despite his repeated written applications to the authorities concerned as well as the Central Public Information Officer of the department.

Sehgal, in his application to senior authorities, said the material procured by the contractor has not been recorded in the ‘Measurement Book’ and records about road-rollers were also missing from the log book.

The applicant said during the same period, road works worth over Rs 1 crore were executed by the GE (East), the records of which were not provided to him under the RTI Act.
He added that he had also sought physical site verification under the Act, but nothing has been done in this direction to date.

CWE Dron Ahuja said he was getting the matter investigated. He, however, remained mum when asked why the department has not provided Sehgal all the documents asked by him under the RTI Act.

Sources in the MES said a senior officer who indulged in pilferages had coaxed the higher authorities for delaying the inquiry at least for a month so he could retire by that time.
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