Caring little about extensive burden on the state exchequer, several Chief Engineers and Executive Engineers (XENs) of the PHE department engaged causal labourers in lieu of money and by violating all rules and regulations.
And if reports are to be believed, they all were engaged on the recommendations of leaders of the respective governments in Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to inter-departmental inquiry, sources said that it has come to the fore that most of the casual labours have paid money for being engaged in the PHE department. Since the one paid the money got the job, inquiry report maintains that the beneficiary never bothered to lodge a complaint with the crime Branch or the State Vigilance Organization (SVC) for having paid money for job.
Referring to inquiry report, sources further told Newspoint Bureau that against 750 casual labourers, more than 1000 were engaged by issuing backdate orders. They said that the fresh appointments of casual labourers were made despite government knowing well that it was facing resource crunch and it had little or no money to spend on the salaries of the newly engaged casual labourers.
The inquiry report has revealed that PDP-Congress coalition government had authorized Chief Engineers of both Jammu and Kashmir Divisions to engage 750 need based workers or daily wagers or causal labourers vide govt order no: PW/S/Hyd/301/2005, dated: 15-02-2006 but once process of engaging people began, there was no stopping. The number has reached peak and if the report is to be relied upon, it has crossed 32000.
Source said that whosoever wants to oblige someone prefers requesting PHE minister or secretary for engagement as causal labourer. They added that despite having placed some Executive Engineers under suspension, not much has changed in the PHE department. The engagement business in-lieu of money continues unabated, said a source.
He added that the respective Chief Engineers and Executive Engineers have engaged need based workers or daily wagers or causal labourers. Source said that daily wagers, need based, casual labourers were illegally engaged in PHE Rural Mechanical Division, PHE Ground water Division, PHE M&P division and PHE Mechanical Division in the year 2013-14. He maintained that more than 125 casual labourers were illegally engaged in the year 2013-14.
These daily wagers were engaged in backdate orders issued by Chief Engineers as well as executive Engineers. These need base casual labourers were placed at various defunct mechanical lift water schemes while others are drawing their wages from the PHE department but working as domestic help with various officers of the department. Sources further said that these casual labourers are being paid out of the operation and maintenance account of the PHE department.
Sources further told Newspoint Bureau that more than 40 casual labourers were illegally engaged during the year 2014 but when the records were checked; it was shown as if they had been engaged somewhere in the year 2010 and earlier. They added that a division in Jammu which has been dealing with the construction of bore-wells and does not own any mechanical lift schemes has also engaged several causal labourers and daily rated workers.
This is despite the fact that most of the bore-wells have been outsourced and the newly employed temporary employees have no work to do in this division. Sources disclosed that these have been engaged purely for domestic purposes but are drawing wages from the PHE department. They said that the most of the departmental Rig-machines are defunct at present yet people have been engaged to run these machines.
These are burden on the state exchequer but they have been engaged and are drawing wages from the PHE department. Sources further said that even those daily wagers and casual labourers whose cases have been forwarded for regularization are being asked to pay money for the same by a select group of officials of the PHE department. They added that some cases have come to the notice of PHE department but by and large, nothing much has changed in the department.
Crime Branch, according to sources has already sought details of the daily wagers, casual labourers and need based workers engaged by the PHE department vide its letter No: CR/MSD/11/568, dated: 17-01-2011 against case No: P.V No. 147/2008. But the department has been dilly-delaying the entire process. Sources confirmed to Newspoint Bureau that a complaint has been lodged with Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) in this regard.