Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Aug. 13: The Legal Metrology and Consumer Protection (LMCP) department has come under the scanner after a Right to Information (RTI) was filed against the department by two residents of Kohima.
Speaking to Eastern Mirror, one of the RTI applicants, ST Yapang Longkumer said that state’s Finance department was asked to provide details concerning funds withdrawn by the department from 2009 till date.
According to Longkumer, he along with another person had submitted the RTI application on February 1, 2019; but they were not satisfied with the response. “Only after we filed a first appeal, we received a reply and found out the loopholes in the utilisation of the money,” he said.
According to a press statement from the duo, the following “misappropriations” were detected:
On March 7, 2011, the department withdrew INR 10 lakh for setting up of consumer clubs in 100 schools. However it was found that the department had given INR 10,000 each to 33 schools only (amounting to INR 3,30,000) and could not produce the utilisation document for the remaining amount.
Furthermore, it stated that on June 6, 2012, the department purchased five thermometer verification kits but after the RTI was filed, it was found that only two verification kits were produced by the department.
It also stated that on May 10, 2012, the department gave a completion certificate and released full amount of INR 26,92,300 to Ashlin Enterprises, Pune for construction of two calibration towers: one each at Dimapur and Kohima. However, the tower was not constructed in Kohima, it stated.
On September 29, 2011, the department purchased 85 ‘coin-operated person weighing machines’ costing INR 20 lakh and distributed them to the beneficiaries. However, there is no record listing the beneficiaries. The statement said that the same weighing machines were purchased on April 12, 2012 for INR 20 lakh, “but appeared to be suspicious as the copy received looked like a remake and not genuine.”
In a copy of the appeal obtained by Eastern Mirror (dated July 26, 2019) the joint controller and head of the department sought for extension of time for submission of the reply as the first appellate authority, which the applicants of the RTI had appealed to, had retired from service.
Longkumer further informed that “from the mentioned points, we can observe that there are loopholes in audit procedures, and in future if such cases appear, we will file case against the auditors.”
They also requested the enforcement agencies like Lokayukta and the police, not to register suo motu case against the department. “If necessary, we will request the appropriate agencies to examine the scam. If the department do not take up necessary corrective measures within 30 days, the intervention of other agencies to take action will be filed, especially that of the CBI,” Longkumer said.