DMF Funds Used For Pvt Mine Workers’ Safety Kits In Odisha’s Sundargarh

Rourkela: District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund to the tune of Rs 32.33 crore was reportedly used for supply of safety equipment and kits to workers in private mines and industries in Odisha’s Sundargarh.

While mines and industries are required to provide safety equipment to workers as part of statutory obligation, the district administration in Sundargarh appeared to have done the job, reports said.

Reports quoting RTI documents said that after a meeting chaired by the district Collector on August 4, 2021, the DMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on September 1 sent a reminder to the District Labour Office (DLO) for urgent supply of a list of mining workers for distribution of personal protective equipment and other essential items.

Around two months prior to that on June 9, 2021, a tender was floated for supply of safety equipment and kits for 10,000 mining workers. Geelon Industries Pvt Ltd which quoted Rs 13,500 emerged L1 bidder, while Veer Enterprises and Shree Hari General Supplier were L2 and L3 bidders respectively, they said.

As per RTI information obtained by Rashmi Ranjan Padhi from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Sundargarh DMF, before procurement and distribution started, it was surprisingly decided that 14,050 mining workers will be covered by the scheme. It was subsequently increased to 24,139, covering both private industrial and mining workers.

Citing documents, the Congress leader reportedly that said Geelon Industries was allowed to supply kits for 14,042 workers, while Veer Enterprises and Shree Hari were asked to provide the same for 3,025 and 7,062 workers.

Alleging that the increased procurement was done without floating any fresh tender, Padhi claimed that all the suppliers were from outside Odisha. While Geelon was paid more than Rs 18.82 crore, Veer Enterprises and Shree Hari were made payments of Rs 9.46 crore and Rs 4.05 crore respectively towards the procurement, it was stated.

Padhi further alleged that the prescribed quality and brands mentioned in the tender documents were not followed. While Rs 13,500 was paid towards each package, the kits supplied were worth hardly Rs 8,000 apiece. The difference could be to the tune of Rs 12 crore in a deal of Rs 32.33 crore, he claimed.

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