ALAPPUZHA: The Food Corporation of India (FCI) Alappuzha depot is reeling from the effects of a contract violation of Rs 52 lakh which it is struggling to obtain back from a contracting company.
The amount was allotted in the period of 2015-16 for transporting food materials from the goods shed in Alappuzha to the FCI godown, but in violation of the contract signed between the FCI and the contracting company.
The special team constituted by the general managers of FCI found the mistakes in the contracted awarded to the Kollam-based transporting company. The FCI had allotted Rs 52 lakh excess for transporting food materials in a period from May 2015 to October 2016. After the incident, however, a legal battle between the FCI and the contracting company led to the freezing of the FCI’s SBI account, holding Rs 25.77 lakh.
The Kerala High Court directed FCI to examine the matter and take immediate steps to settle the issue last December, but after four months it did not take any steps to retain the money. The CBI also started an examination of this case along with other fraud cases connected with the FCI godowns in Kozhikode. An FCI officer on condition of anonymity told Express, “The FCI constituted a general managers’ committee after the contracting company had approached the Grievances Redressal Committee (GRC) of the FCI as per the direction of the HC.
The committee, including the general managers of accounts, law and contract, examined the contract documents and documents of disbursal of amount and found Rs 52 lakh was awarded to the company excess above the contract amount,” the officer said. “The committee found the FCI had awarded a contract for transporting food grains from the goods shed to godown and fixed the charge as Rs 109 for transporting point-to-point on metric tonne as per the clause XIX part -1(2) of the contract agreement. However, the FCI authorities allotted money on kilometer basis and allotted excess amount - Rs 218 - to the contracting company. A newly appointed area manager noticed the mistakes in 2016,” said the officer.
“The rate to be quoted is on point-to-point basis’. So the issues of distance are irrelevant. The divisional officer of Alappuzha depot took the distance as 2 km and awarded Rs 218 for the movement of metric tone from shed to godown till October 2016,” the officer said. “The same kind of mismanagement of awarding of the contract is rampant in many depots of the FCI. The money allotted by the Central government is awarded to contractors and it is bleeding the coffers of the country,” the officer said. As per the auditing carried out by the accounts department of the FCI, Rs 52.9 lakh was needed to pay the contracting company. But FCI officers allotted Rs 1.05 crore to the company as transporting charge. When contacted, FCI officers were not ready to comment on the incident.