By the time new equipment was procured for removing the mines laid on the India-Pakistan border for Operation Parakaram, most of the 10-lakh mines had already been removed. To top that, the de-mining equipment was procured under the Fast Track Procedure thus making it costlier and under utilized.
“There was substantial delay in the delivery of the equipment due to lack of effective coordination between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other concerned agencies defeating the very concept of Fast Track Procurement”, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said in its fifty ninth report tabled in Parliament on Friday. The report appraises the action taken by the ministry on the PAC’s thirty fourth report tabled in Parliament last December that had indicted the ministry for the delays.
The current report indicts the ministry for its ‘lackadaisical approach’ in enforcing the procurement contract. It says, the ministry did not just delay the procurement – the equipment reached here in nine months instead of the promised four – it also lost the competitive advantage of bidding by adopting the fast track mode. To top this the arms supplier could not be penalised because the ministry admitted to have faltered on deadlines for pre-despatch inspection and opening of the Letter of Credit (LC) by the bank.
The PAC has expressed dissatisfaction over the ministry not apprising it of any “system put in place by the MoD to effectively deal with cases under the fast track procedure.”