Comptroller and Auditor General audit mis-read barcoded entries, claims NFAI
The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has contested observations made in a report filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), that cited at least 31,000 film reels, or cans, held by the Pune-based institute have been either lost or destroyed.
The department of audit and accounts, under CAG, carried out a check of records maintained by NFAI, Pune, between May 1, 2015 and September 30, 2017.
The audit report was released in 2018, and has now been accessed and made public thanks to a right to information application filed in New Delhi.
However, on Monday, NFAI officials, claimed that the CAG report had “wrongly looked” at entries and made an observation.
“In 2010, NFAI contracted an outside agency to barcode the cans. The agency barcoded one lakh cans, but couldn’t bar code at least 30,000 reels, as those were in a derailed condition. Since one lakh reels out of 1.35 lakh were barcoded, CAG observed that NFAI has destroyed the rest,” said an official directly involved in the matter, though requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Prakash Magdum, NFAI director, is travelling outside India and hence, could not be reached. Santosh Ajmera, officer on special duty at NFAI, said an explanation of the above has already been sent to CAG .
Kirti Tiwari, deputy director at NFAI said, “I cannot comment at this point as I am not authorised to speak on this issue.”
Kiran Diwar, film preservation officer at NFAI, said, “There was audit done, though I am not aware about the observations.”
NFAI is the country’s premier film archive, acquiring and preserving various elements and actual film reels of national and world cinema, archiving a celluloid heritage.
"From bills submitted by the contractor and payment made it was observed that as against 1,32,000 film reels/cans available in NFAI's film acquisition register/Annual Report 2016-17, the contractor had pasted bar code sticker only on 1,00,377 film reels cans, which indicate that more than 31,263 reels/cans were either lost/damaged," the auditor pointed out in the report, according to a news wire agency that accessed the report via the RTI.
The report added that there was nothing on record to indicate the item-wise number of bar code stickers pasted, thus it could not be ascertained what the actual number of each item presently available with the NFAI is; which indicates that the very purpose of the asset management system as envisaged in the contract was not achieved.