PWD officials pocket 70% of work funds, says contractor
A government contractor who exposed large-scale irregularities that point to a massive scam in the Public Works Department (PWD) in Ulhasnagar has also sent a letter to the Chief Minister claiming that only 30 per cent of the funds meant for works are actually utilised by the PWD, with the remaining 70 per cent going into the pockets of various officials.
Sanjay Pawar, an authorised contractor of the PWD in Ulhasnagar, used the Right to Information (RTI) Act to obtain work details that buttressed his claim that PWD officials generated bills for repairs and renovation that were never undertaken at police establishments in Ulhasnagar.
To bring to the notice of the authorities the massive corruption he says he witnessed in the PWD, Pawar on April 17 sent a letter complaining about the scam (copy with MiD DAY) to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan as well as several officials.
“I am a witness to this corruption. Only 30 per cent amount (of funds for works) is being used (for the works) and 70 per cent amount is distributed among officials as per their ranks,” Pawar said.
Now, the Chief Minister’s office has forwarded Pawar’s complaint to the Vigilance Department, Konkan Bhavan, for investigation. MiD DAY has a copy of the document that has a vigilance official claiming that the matter is under investigation.
Having observed the PWD from close for 20 years, Pawar even has the “kickbacks rate card” of officials of various ranks.
According to his letter of complaint, the superintendent engineer’s cut is 5 per cent for accepting a tender, 10 per cent for granting a letter of credit (LOC) from the government and 6 per cent for a departmental LOC.
The letter states the executive engineer takes 5 per cent for allotting a work and “managing” the tender, 1 per cent for issuing the request letter, 1 per cent for issuing the work order, and 15 per cent for issuing the bill.
The letter states: “Sub engineer’s rate is 1 per cent for distributing work, 1 per cent for issuing request letter, and 2 per cent for issuing the bill. The rate of the junior engineer is 1 per cent for making an estimate and 2 per cent for issuing the bill.”
The complaint says even the contractors are allowed a share from the total funds meant for a work for doing various illegal things.
The letter states: “The contractors also have their percentages. He (a contractor) takes 1.5 per cent for issuing a request letter to the federation and 11 per cent for forging a bill. It is necessary to distribute 7 per cent of the amount in the sub-divisional office.”
Pawar also alleged that in case officials issue bogus bills for works that remain only on paper, then the amount distributed by way of bribes to several decision makers runs into lakhs of rupees.
How the kickbacks system works
According to Sanjay Pawar, there is an unofficial rate card for kickbacks in the PWD. Here is an illustrative example giving the break-up for what goes into the pockets of various officials when a Rs 1 crore estimate is prepared for a work that is not undertaken in reality.
>> Superintendent engineer: Rs 21 lakh
>> Executive engineer: Rs 32 lakh
>> Sub engineer: Rs 9 lakh
>> Junior engineer: Rs 8 lakh
>> Dummy contractor: Rs 10 lakh
>> Other office staff, federation, income tax department and towards work deposit: Rs 20 lakh
The other side
Assistant engineer, PWD, Ulhasnagar, R R Somvanshi said: “Whatever he (Pawar) claims is not right. I can not comment on the (kickback) percentage issue as I am a small officer.”