Unauthorized sale points hit UJALA scheme in Kashmir
Instead of meeting the massive demands of LED bulbs at various Khidmat centers, e-Governance Services Limited (CSC- SPV)— distribution and warehousing incharge for Unnat Jyoti By Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme of the central government— is diverting huge stocks of bulbs to 'unauthorized' sales points run by its 'blue-eyed boys', allege owners of Khidmat centers.
In a recent email (a copy of which is in possession with Greater Kashmir) to Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, J&K Common Service Centers Union ( CSCs), an umbrella body of 1300 Khidmat centers has said "commission agents" working for CSC-SPV in the state are selling LED bulbs at much higher prices than the subsidized cost of Rs 20 per bulb.
"Prices fixed by EESL/Ministry of Power, GOI are not being respected. Deliberate scarcity of stock has been created in order to sell the units on higher and self styled prices. People working for CSC e-Governance Services Limited, New Delhi are indulging in black marketing. They have issued the stock to their own people in bulk to fetch more and more money. They are not only the employees of the organisation but brokers and commission agents as well," reads the letter.
Pertinently, there has been no action from the power ministry yet as shortage of bulbs continues unabated across Kashmir. The Khidmat centers have also shot these complaints to top management of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), an organization formed by Union Power Ministry for handling UJALA scheme. BJP top brass and the state government were also approached by the Khidmat Centers but to no avail.
"This auspicious centrally sponsored subsidized scheme is being violated on all parameters be it distribution, pricing, stocking etc. We have raised the issue with the local representatives but nothing positive has matured as of now. There are ground level/peripheral officials who are involved in this scandalous activity. We request you to investigate the matter thoroughly at your end," reads the email.
According to Village Level Entrepreneurs, a former state head of CSC-SPV, who now heads operations in Delhi used to seek money from many 'gullible' Khidmat Centre owners for simple registering of users for OMT (Online Monitoring Tool) for Khidmat Centres, which otherwise is a free service.
"The CSC-SPV sold almost 800 additional OMTs which has caused utter confusion in distribution and sale of the LEDs. In my area in Bijbehara there are two sales centers in the same building while there are sales centers running from residential homes, tution centers and small shops and not authorized Khidmat centers in many towns," said a VLE at the condition of anonymity.
According to sources, more complaints received against the former CSC-SPV state head include pilferage of hundreds of computer tablets, computers and equipment meant to be originally distributed to Khidmat centers.
"This fraud was also worth crores. Despite many letters having been written to this ex-state head by J&K Government Information Technology department, till date he has not furnished details to the government on the status of those hundreds of computer tablets, computer devices, mobile phones and printers received in the name of CSC project in J&K" sources said.