Electrical equipment such as LED-based emergency lights,fans and invertors worth crores of rupees bought by Western Railway (WR) are lying in its Lower Parel workshop scrapyard after officials claimed these were of inferior quality.
One of the companies that provided the equipment belongs to Sandeep Goyal,a co-accused in the case in which former Railway Minister Pawan Bansals nephew and former WR general manager (who went on to become a railway board member) Mahesh Kumar have been arrested.
WR had purchased BLDS fans at the rate of Rs 2,982 a piece from Pyramid Pvt Ltd,Delhi,as per an August 8,2011 order.
Officials now claim these fans are available for Rs 800 each,at the most Rs 1,000. The fans were unbranded and officials alleged these were substandard and has been rejected as scrap. Another order to the same company dated April 24,2013 was for purchasing 10 invertors at Rs 53,000 plus taxes. Officials said inverters of the same specification were available for not more than Rs 30,000 apiece.
Similarly,emergency LED lights worth crores of rupees were ordered only to be junked due to poor quality. In an order dated September 2,2008,the railway board had asked all 16 zonal railways to issue tenders for LED-based emergency lights for use during accidents or derailment of trains. These lights would help passengers get off trains during emergencies.
The reserve cost for 5,200 pieces of LED-based emergency lights to be purchased by Western Railways was estimated at Rs 4 crore. In one of the purchases from a contractor (order dated October 14,2009), 3,442 LED-based emergency lights were purchased from Intra Electronics Pvt Ltd,a Pune-based company at Rs 3,960 plus apiece. Another contract was given the same year to Mavee Electronics Pvt Ltd for 1,854 emergency lights at the cost of Rs 4,118 apiece. According to many manufacturers,such lights cost only up to Rs 1,000.
The emergency lights,fans and inverters were of substandard quality. The lights failed before the warranty period ended,although its operational life should be around five years. Despite our complaints,the management did not act, said a senior WR engineer.