Gilgit-Baltistan: Embezzlement of Rs.80 Million Uncovered

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ISLAMABAD (ET): Contractors embezzled up to Rs.80 million in funds in connivance with senior officers of Pakistan Works Department (PWD) without completing even a single project in a small tehsil of Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
This was revealed by an investigative report prepared recently by the head of the Inspection Team in G-B, which has commenced probing development projects across the region on the complaint that PWD officers have discharged funds by drawing huge commission from the contractors, who did not even bother to conclude a single project.
According to a report of the inspection team, in Yasin tehsil, development funds over Rs80 million have been disbursed for six projects well before the work even started. It was learnt that most of the contractors had affiliation with Pakistan Peoples Party and now they have joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in a bid to save their skin.
The new chief secretary, Mohammad Younus Dhaga, has suspended a score of senior and junior level officers of PWD by taking action against serious irregularities.
These projects include, Truss Bridge at Hunder and Protective Bund from Hundur to Darkut worth Rs27 million, Metalling of Road at Noh, Nazber, GM village and tehsil headquarters Yasin worth Rs13.467 million, construction of water supply scheme at Khynut Yasin Bala worth Rs15 million.
Also, construction of water supply in Halqa-III Ghizer at Dalkoi worth Rs15 million and construction of a road in Darmardar, Gojalti and Yasin worth Rs12.500 million remain unfinished.
According to the inspection report, during the visit to the site of the Truss Bridge at Hunder and Protective Bund from Hundur to Darkut, it was discovered that most of the work is yet to be completed.
Work on the approach road is under way and only 30% work has been seen even after a lapse of four years. It was also mentioned in the finding that Rs3, 300, 837 million has been paid to the contractor for constructing a protective band, whereas actual work done at the site is not more than 300 rft, resulting in the contractor taking away Rs2, 907, 391 million remains unjustified.
In the metalling of the road project at the Noh, Nazber, GM village and tehsil HQ Yasin, despite receiving more than the agreed amount, contractor Maqsood Alam has not completed the scheme after a lapse of four and a half years. It also says that the metal work is likely to be damaged subsequently during excavation of earthwork for increasing the width of the road.
In another project for construction of water channel and installation of irrigation pipe at Halqa-III at Dranch Thoi, the project was awarded to Jan Mohammad with a stipulated period of six month with an estimated cost of Rs598, 950. It later exceeded to Rs1, 912, 856 million, despite work being carried out on the ground.
The report further states the field staff of PWD of Buildings & Roads (B&R) division district Ghizer benefited the contractor by allowing him 40 per cent blasting work in hard rock, 30 per cent excavation work, while during the site visit, it is seen that the channel passes through the agriculture lands where neither blasting work nor work pick jumps work is required.

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