Palampur, January 21
Ashish Butail, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and local MLA, today ordered a probe into the purchase of solar lights by the Palampur Municipal Corporation.
Rs 3.47 cr already paid
The Palampur MC purchased solar lights worth Rs 4.47 crore from a private company last yearThese equipment developed snags in less than three monthsThe MC has already paid Rs 3.47 crore to the company, which has failed to repair defective lights over the past six months
Butail, while talking to mediapersons, said the MC purchased solar lights worth Rs 4.47 crore last year. These lights developed snags in less than three months.
A total of 2,200 solar lights (35W and 12W) were purchased at an average price Rs 18,000 each plus GST from a Bareilly (UP)-based private company. The price of each solar light unit includes the cost of lamp, solar panel, pole, storage battery, box and installation charges. Till date, the MC has already paid Rs 3.47 crore to the supplier and the balance is outstanding.
Butail said he had received complaints from residents and MC councillors that over 50 per cent of the solar lights installed in various wards had stopped working. Therefore, he had ordered a high-level probe into the case. The government would request the State Vigilance Department to look into the matter.
He had directed MC Commissioner Vikram Mahajan to ask the company to repair all defective lights within 15 days and not pay the balance amount till further orders, he said. He would not tolerate corruption at any level and anybody found involved in any wrongdoing would not be spared, he added.
The MC Commissioner said the lights were purchased through the “Government e-Marketplace” (GEM) portal, and the MC had followed the proper procedure while making those purchases.
He admitted that lights were found defective. The company had been directed to replace the lights. The MC had already withheld the balance payment of the company. The company had given five-year warrantee on these lights, he added.
Deputy Mayor Anish Nag, however, said the MC did not take the Mayor and him into confidence while making those purchases. An advance of Rs 1.5 crore was paid to the company in violation of the rules.