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Corruption caused heavy loss to ASTC

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, July 2 - From irregular allocation of rooms and spaces to giving undue benefit to contractors, from not following tendering procedures in different works to illegal appointment of staff � there has been major irregularities in the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) in the last several years leading to �irreparable financial losses� to the transport body.

The details of the irregularities have been listed in an official report of the transport body, which has been accessed by The Assam Tribune. The irregularities have been communicated by the ASTC to the Home Department seeking a vigilance inquiry into the �state of affairs� of the corporation during the period 2006-2015.

According to the report, a private security agency which does not possess any valid licence was engaged to protect the properties of the corporation and to maintain discipline and law and order. The agency was engaged without following any proper tendering procedure.

Shops and spaces of the corporation were allotted to private individuals without proper assessment and any proper tendering procedure, causing severe financial losses to the corporation. In one case, the rent of one space was abnormally reduced from Rs 90,000 to Rs 10,000.

Further, an amount of Rs 60 lakh was spent on outsourcing the upkeep and maintenance to a firm, but the intended benefits were not achieved. This had even come under the scanner of the auditors.

During the year 2010-11, an �undue benefit� of Rs 30 lakh was given to a bus body fabricator contractor by allowing higher prices against the tender notice, the report said.

The document also states about irregularities in the construction of the multi-level car parking at Paltanbazar, which resulted in a loss of Rs 1.28 crore to the corporation.

It was also stated in the document that a former managing director of the corporation had engaged around 35 staff after his retirement, but on records it was shown that the recruitment was done a day before his retirement. �It seems that tests, process and need assessment were not done properly and government money was spent without any logic,� it states.

According to the document, there are possibilities of unearthing of more financial and other irregularities if a vigilance inquiry is ordered.

The current revenue generation of the transport corporation is around Rs 9-10 crore, while its expenditure is around Rs 14 crore per month. The government provides an assistance of Rs 2.5 crore to the ASTC that runs over 700 buses in the State.

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