As the stores and procurement department has failed to fulfill timely requirements of the government, most of the government departments could not complete the target set by the government for construction and other development works. The department was established with the sole aim of arranging key construction material to Engineering or non-engineering Departments in the State. Reliable sources in the department revealed to KNS that most of the government departments have now taken an escape route after obtaining NOC from SPD and is buying material form open market believing to be on exorbitant rates. Sources said that the SPD, besides key construction material, is also responsible to provide the crate wire to the flood and control department across the state. However sources said that due to the non availability of crate wire the ridges on the damaged river banks could not be completed by the flood control department. Sources revealed that the recent case of its failure was reported when the department failed to supply bitumen to the Kashmir based departments and gave wrong information to PWD about having sufficient stocks of the said item. “The government had to face humiliation before the pubic for taking up the up-gradation of the roads of Srinagar and other areas of Kashmir valley after floods. Sources said that all the government departments forward their yearly requirement to the stores procurement department with the sole aim of timely supply but hardly these projected items on demand are available. The main objective of the department was to consolidate the yearly requirements of different Engineering or non-engineering Departments in the State of J&K in terms of key construction material mainly cement,Steel in all shapes including TMT bars, MS Rolled sections, MS plates, Galvanised plain and corrugated sheets. Black annealed wire for crates for flood protection and restoration works and Bitumen for road construction and other material as per the requirement of Departments. Sources added that because of the failure of SPD, a thought persist with the government to see that the activities of the SPD is put on hold till such time a complete review is taken. “The R&B minister Altaf Bukhari was furious at a time when the stores this department failed to make the supplies. The minister was informed that the department has not come up to the expectations,” sources said. Sources said that over the years, some blue eyed officers have weakened the department through their wrong doings. Sources said that surprisingly the department who holds key position does not have any testing laboratory and is banking on third party inspection. “As per practice in vogue it is a mandatory requirement to conduct quality test of each item under supply to state departments. The Department is headed by Chief Engineer/Director with one Superintending Engineer/Joint Director, three Executive Engineers/Deputy Directors and six Assistant Executive Engineers/Assistant Directors. It has two central stores, one each in Jammu and Pampore spread over 64 kanals and 135 kanals respectively, catering to demands of the two regions. However sources said that the corrupt practices by some of the officers had constantly hit functioning of the department. Another story came into light when matter was discussed by this reporter with director stores procurement department about supply of tor steel, not taking into account the seismic Zone standards. It was specifically asked to the Director as to whether the specification required is based on BIS standards for seismic zone, the reply was that now the required corrections have been made and are procuring 500 D tor steel which takes care of the earthquake zone. The discussion with the director reveals that the department till the correction was carried all the structural material supplied so far was not as per the seismic zone BIS requirements. The yearly requirement of tor steel of various departments in JK is to the tune of 8 thousand to 10 thousand metric tons. Sources informed KNS that a vigilance case against the earlier Director is under investigation for supply of defective tor steel not based on seismic zone requirements. Sources said that the department does not have any depot both at leh and kargil as a result the departments at these places travel to Jammu for purchase of key construction material their by incurring huge amount on transportation. On enquiry to the Director for procurement planning he gave sufficient reasons for having stocks at Jammu and Srinagar but if the sources are to be believed hardly key construction is available with them.
2015 Kashmir Despatch