Rs 12.6 lakh travel bill: PTU dean takes varsity for a ride, receives expenses for 280-km daily travel
Record shows dean (planning and external development) travelled 280km every working day on official Innova for 16 months from January 2016 to April 2017 and claimed Rs 76,000 a month on average; varsity has no mechanism to check misuse.Updated: Nov 28, 2017 18:46 IST
In what could be rampant misuse at best or a scam at worst, a dean NP Singh, at Inder Kumar Gujral Punjab Technical University (IKG-PTU), Kapurthala, has received expenses for travelling 280km each working way for the past 16 months (from January 2016 to April 2017). The amount he has got for the period is Rs 12.6 lakh or Rs 76,000 a month. Such extensive travel also raises a question on when was he available in his office during these 16 months.
The cash-rich IKG-PTU has no proper transport policy in place and the varsity faced shortage of cars for its staff last year. So, in January 2016, private Innova vehicles were hired for senior faculty members.
However, under the tender conditions for the hiring, officials were supposed to travel 80km per day.
HT has accessed the record of the travel of Singh, posted as dean (planning and external development) from the finance department of the university.
“There is no capping of expenditure on my car. The bills are the result of extensive travelling I have done for official purpose. I visit Chandigarh routinely.”— NP Singh, dean (planning and external development)
Dean himself signed bills
Interestingly, the varsity has no mechanism to check the misuse of vehicles, the dean himself had to sign the bills and, that too, without taking any permission or tour approval from the vice-chancellor.
Under the tender, the use of the hired Innovas was capped at 1,600km a month, assuming 20 working days a month (Monday to Friday). The cap was based on the fact that the houses of all main officials were situated a maximum of 15km away (30 km to and fro). So, the distance that the Innova would travel was 150km a week or 600km a month. An additional 1,000km was granted for other travel, including for official trips to Chandigarh. On running the 1,600km, each cab was to be paid Rs 40,000 a month. A tender clause stated that if the travel exceeded the limit, the car would charge Rs 10 per km.
From the Rs 12.6 lakh that the dean got, in not even a single month did he claim less Rs 70,000. In December 2016, he claimed Rs 91,000.
Scam or luxury?
Source said the claims were high as the dean had been misusing the cars for personal purpose. Singh has rubbished any such suggestion. “There is no capping of expenditure on my car. The bills are the result of extensive travelling I have done for official purpose. I visit Chandigarh routinely,” Singh told HT, when contacted. Notably, he has a controversial past and was suspended from the varsity on the charges of corruption, but was reinstated.
Interestingly, second dean (research and development) AP Singh has travelled within the permissible limit, barring a few months when the extra travel expense has been very high.
“An investigation will reveal everything. It’s a scam, where officials cars are being grossly misused,” a senior official said.
Varsity spent Rs 1.5 cr in 2016-17 for travel of 8 officials
IKG-PTU, Kapurthala, spent more than Rs 1.5 crore on cars and travel of its eight officials in 2016-17 fiscal, records show. Sometimes, the varsity adopts the same travel policy that the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has adopted for its field staff. This, when most varsity officials have to be on their seats, most of their time. In Punjabi University, Patiala, the average expenditure under this head is around Rs 30 lakh a year.
First Published: Nov 28, 2017 09:41 IST