The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has criticised the Indian Army for not being able to effectively maintain a large inventory of critical weapon systems including radars and battle tanks.
The CAG also took strong objection to inordinate delays by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in constructing 61 strategically-important roads, having a total length of 3,409 km, under the Indo China Border Roads (ICBRs) project.
In a report which was tabled in Parliament, the CAG criticised the Army for failing to come up with any long-term perspective plan for creation of infrastructure for newly-inducted military systems.
Citing examples of delays in maintenance of key weapon platforms, it said against the norm of 153 days, it took the army 1,512 days for the overhauling of BMP Infantry Combat Vehicles.
"Similarly, for Tanks T-72, the delay ranged up to 836 days against the norm of 144 days. Overhaul of Radar and its variants also experienced delays up to 921 days," the report said.
It specifically mentioned lack of facility for repair and overhaul of Main Battle Tank, Arjun which was inducted into the army from 2004 and is due for overhaul from 2020-21.
"In case of Tank T-72, the quantum of backlog of overhaul was 713 at the end of 2010-11 and 479 at the end of 2015-16 which constitutes around 20 per cent of total holding," said the report on the working of Army's Base Workshops covering a period of six years from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
The report suggested the Army should have a detailed plan to keep the weapons system available for any eventuality.
Referring to maintenance of armoured recovery vehicles (ARV WZT 2), the CAG said the facility for overhaul of the fleet was set up in March 2009 after 28 years of its introduction.
"The vehicle was due for overhaul since 1996-97, but only 22 ARV WZT-2 could be overhauled against the total strength of 222. The equipment was likely to be de-inducted by 2018," said CAG.
Roads not built
In a separate report, the CAG said though the project to construct the 61 roads was to be implemented by 2012, only 22 of them were completed till March 2016, at a cost of Rs4,536 crore.
There was a huge cost overrun in laying the 22 roads as estimated cost of constructing 61 roads was Rs4,644 crore.
Expressing serious concern over the delays, the CAG said the remaining roads would be completed only by 2021.
"Audit noticed numerous instances of defective construction of roads on account of unsuitable design/ specifications, steep gradient, defective alignment, turning problems, improper contract management, poor riding conditions, inadequate drainage facilities, non-connectivity of roads and abandonment of executed works," the report said.
In another report on working of canteen stores, the CAG also pointed out various irregularities in running of canteen stores.
"Excess drawal of liquor than the entitlement to the extent of 5,14,369 units valuing Rs5.14 crore at a minimum base price of Rs100 per bottle of rum was observed in 20 URCs (Unit Run Canteens) which may find way to illegal sale in open market," the CAG said.
It also said as no specific mechanism was laid down or procedures evolved to monitor the price variation of the products, the suppliers managed to evade passing on the benefit of reduction of prices to the stores.
The CAG also talked about violation of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines as Procurement Officer in headquarters of Canteen Store Department was acting as vigilance officer.