Panels set up to probe civil work irregularities in 17 varsities

Panels set up to probe civil work irregularities in 17 varsities

The higher education department has given six tasks for the inquiry committees that have been set up to probe irregularities in civil works of 17 state universities.

Higher Education Minister Basavaraja Rayareddy had often said there are large-scale irregularities in construction activities taken up over the years by all state varsities. Some varsities like the University of Mysore and Bangalore University have allowed encroachment of their land, he had said.

On Saturday, the department issued a notification, which will facilitate the inquiry. It pertains only to administrative lapses in building constructions and losing land due to encroachments.

As many as 17 committees have been formed, one for each university. Each comprises an engineer from the Public Works Department, an accounts officer from the city corporation or zilla panchayat and an officer from the education department or related department like technical education. On some panels, additional deputy commissioners have been appointed.

The notification says that the committees have to submit the report within the next 15 days. But going by the work assigned, it looks more time would be required to source the information, officers in the department said.

Committee members have to physically inspect all the civil works taken up by the universities and record the same for review. While doing so, they should check whether the rules framed under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act, 2000, have been followed.

Another task is to find out  whether payment has been made to the contractors more than what they had quoted and the loss incurred by the state exchequer due to delay in execution of work. They have also been asked to find whether the universities have taken decisions without proper administrative approval. Also, any irregularities in civil work executed by the varsities should be reported.

Rayareddy said the works done in the last five years would be probed.  “I am well aware that large-scale financial irregularities have taken place over the years. It is time to act. For example, it is said that Bangalore University has lost nearly 80 to 100 acres, while 8 acres of University of Mysore have been encroached,” he said.

Bharat Lal Meena, principal secretary, department of higher education, said, “Annually, the department do get audit reports from the universities. But this is the first time such a big exercise to find financial irregularities has been taken up in the state.”

Asked whether two weeks would be sufficient to probe, Meena said, “It must be sufficient. Some universities might have not violated the rules. If required, more time could be sanctioned,” he added.
DH News Service

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