'BSF boat procurement process faulty'

'BSF boat procurement process faulty'

Procuring speed boats for patrolling the riverine border with Pakistan and Bangladesh may be high on the agenda of the Border Security Force (BSF), but a basic check on whether the equipment is suited for the terrain is not conducted by the force before going on a buying spree.

In a strong indictment, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that the BSF’s failure to exercise due diligence in buying six boats for the Water Wing to patrol the creek region in Gujarat Frontier had led to a loss of Rs 1.09 crore to the exchequer.
The CAG report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, came days after BSF Director-General D K Pathak told a press conference in Delhi about the force’s “ambitious plans for modernisation”, which also include buying speed boats and other equipment for the Water Wing.

The six boats, which were procured to be used in the highly sensitive border with Pakistan, were found “unfit and unsuitable” for use in the area during trials in March 2012, the CAG said.

A year later, the BSF sent a fresh proposal for procurement of eight patrol boats for Gujarat after diverting these boats to other areas.

More than the amount, the casual way in which the procurement was made was highlighted by the auditor. The faulty procurement came despite a representative of the Gujarat Frontier was part of the Board of Officers, which conducted pre-delivery inspection. Right from the start, according to the CAG, the process was not followed properly. The Qualitative Requirements was approved by the Home Ministry only in August 2010, four months after the supply orders were placed.

The Procurement Cell went ahead with the order without seeking inputs from the end user Water Wing. The tender also did not mention the design requirement to match the wave height prevailing in the creek area.

The tender for six twin-engine boats for Creek region in Gujarat Frontier and three for the Sunderbans in South Bengal Frontier launched in July 2009 also did not have provisions for water trial of prototype boats.

The unsuitability of the boats came to light only when they were put under test run for 60-70 hours. “The boats were found suitable for a maximum wave height of 0.6 metre, whereas the wave height in the creek area went up to one meter,” the CAG said.
DH News Service

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