Thanamandi Municipality scam! Grass violations reported in regularization of daily wagers and financial matters; Script writers of fraud given plum postings
(POONCH TODAY NEWS)
RAJOURI: Exclusively reported by “POONCH TODAY” about brazen fraud in the regularization of temporary employees who were closed to successive Executive Officers, no strong action has yet been taken by the government. Earlier, the district administration of Rajouri, through its order no. 78-DDCR of 2023 dated March 29, 2023, formed a committee with District Statistics and Evaluation Officer Rajouri, SDM Thanamandi, and Tehsildar Thanamandi as its members of the inquiry committee to inquire into the allegation of various frauds in the Thanamandi municipality.
The committee, after hectic efforts, investigated the issue and found a number of open frauds in the said municipality. Some works were inspected by the committee, which found that open violations of various rules were made, thereby giving a huge setback to the government exchequer. Question marks were raised on the entire process of e-auctioning the Lorry Adda fee (2022–23), as the committee found the entire process invalid. Moreover, various items were purchased from different vendors in violation of the norms. Under the PMAY scheme, some government employees and pensioners were given the benefits of PMAY houses. Sanctions of multiple houses in a single family were also reported. A former councillor with a pucca house was given three houses, one for himself and two in the names of his sons. With regard to beautifying the town with a walking track from the office building to Shahdra Sharief Bridge to Ward No. 4 up to the entry point, a huge compromise was made as the purpose for which the work was tendered was not met. When the team inspected the work, it was found that the Rs 99.98 lacs project was executed hurriedly with an uneven width. In one more open fraud, a lady who had been working in a private school since 2014 was paid a salary of Rs 22,500 as a casual worker by the MC Thanamandi, which is an open financial irregularity. Moreover, eight people who were working as daily wagers were regularized either by unauthorized officials or by tampering with records. A Khilafwarzi assistant was regularized by E.O. Thanamandi, who was not competent to regularize a daily wager. Likewise, a sanitary supervisor, who was also a daily wager, was illegally regularized by E.O. in open violation of rules. Likewise, six more daily wagers were regularized in the pay scale of Rs 2550–3200 against unknown posts. There are authentic proofs that show that the forgery signatures of Director Urban Local Bodies Jammu were used. Shockingly, the regularization order was issued on the letterhead of E.O. Thanamandi with the forged signature of Director ULB. It was an open 420 act on the part of executive officers who were involved in forging signatures to regularize their blue-eyed daily wagers. When the district administration directed the E.O. Thanamandi not to release the salary of all the illegally regularized daily wagers, the Executive Officer, by showing an open thumb to the order of district administration Rajouri, withdrew the salary of four employees who were illegally regularized, and the same Executive Officer, who was one of the script writers of various frauds, now has been posted in the Poonch district holding two offices. In the local bodies department, this E.O. is known for taking big financial shots in lieu of illegal work. A few weeks ago, he allowed the illegal construction of eight shops on the first flood near Poonch Fort by hiding the front place to dodge everybody. Likewise, many illegal shops were allowed to be constructed in the same area. Question marks have also been raised against Poonch Municipality for converting a passenger shed into shops in a new bus stand. However, it’s a proof of the shocking state of affairs in the urban local bodies that those officers who are involved in multiple backdoor appointments and various other financial frauds have been given prestigious postings. The case of the backdoor appointment scam in Thanamandi Municipality needs a proper investigation to book those culprits, who misused their chairs and were involved in scripting various scams. Taking Thanamandi Municipality as an example, a more detailed investigation is required in other municipalities of Jammu Division to detect similar scams, if any, as there are reports that a number of daily wagers were appointed out of the way over the years. Likewise, many financial scams were also scripted, and for that, a high-level inquiry is needed from the government to bring to book those who played havoc with the government rules and exchequer. Its high time for Senior IAS Officer Mandeep Kour, who is looking after the Housing and Urban Development Department in J&K UT, to order a high-level inquiry into various frauds scripted in the Thanamandi and Poonch municipalities over the years, and those tainted officials who were involved in various illegal acts deserve befitting retribution under law for playing with the government exchequer and rules.