Wrongdoings Alleged In PHE Master Plan Div

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Female Official Accused Xen Of Misbehaviour: Taj

Srinagar – The Public Health Engineering Department has launched an investigation into several wrong-doings in its Soura-based Master Plan Division following charges of irregularities and malpractices, a report circulated by local news gathering agency, KNS, said Tuesday.

Since 2001, the Division has been collecting the periodical water tax from its consumers spread over a vast area of the city and remitting the same into the state treasury. About a year ago, the executive engineer entrusted the task to Manzoor Ahmad Najjar for which government receipt (GR) books were issued to him.

However, on being asked by the revenue in-charge, Firdous Akhtar, to render accounts of all the collections made by him, Najjar allegedly failed to provide complete details giving rise to some suspicion, the report said, adding seven GR books, under which water usage charges to the tune of Rs 1,97,615 had been collected, were found missing.

The GR books Najjar had failed to return were: 2202701 to 2202725, 2418601 to 2418650, 2618701 to 2618750, 2618851 to 2618900, 2409051 to 2409100, 2422551 to 2422600, 2617651 to 2617700. The amounts collected under these GR books respectively were: Rs 11,940; Rs 30,230; Rs 27,525; Rs 31,550; Rs 30, 920; Rs 25,060; and Rs 40,390, the report said.

According to the report, the revenue in-charge brought the matter to the executive engineer’s notice who, allegedly, did not take any action in spite of repeated pleas. After seven months, the official brought it to the chief engineer’s notice who ordered an investigation.  

However, following a direction after a meeting, Najjar allegedly deposited the collected money with the department. But, he did not return the missing GR books giving rise to the suspicion that some embezzlement might allegedly have taken place.

Quoting sources, the report said several employees posted in the Master Plan Division had allegedly managed the backdoor appointment of their relatives, including some minors. Many of them are paid their wages though they allegedly work as domestic aids of officials or are engaged in business. The authorities have been accused of allotting renovation and repair contracts to one of the employees in the division and even absorbing two of his sons.

Reports the Division had allegedly sold out the land it had acquired at two places and was trying to pay compensation to some parties though they had already received it.

When contacted, the PHE minister, Taj Mohi-ud-din, said the receipt book system had been replaced by computerized billing a year ago on the pattern of Power Development Department. However, any complaint on missing GR books would be looked into, he told Kashmir Observer, adding 500-1,000 employees were posted in the Master Plan Division.

Taj said a female employee had approached him a month ago with complaint of “misbehavior” against the executive engineer on which he had asked for a report from the chief engineer. He said no report had been received yet.

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