Ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in man­age­ment of equip­ment: RAA

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Royal Au­dit Au­thor­ity Au­dit finds ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in man­age­ment and pro­cure­ment of equip­ments meant for res­cue and search for the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

The De­part­ment of Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment (DDM) had pro­cured equip­ments amount­ing to Nu.16.602 mil­lion for search and res­cue and other ba­sic dis­as­ter re­lated equip­ment through the govern­ment fund­ing.

The au­dit was con­ducted with an ob­jec­tive to as­cer­tain whether due regard was given in en­sur­ing econ­omy, ef­fec­tive and ef­fec­tive­ness in deal­ing with dis­as­ter man­age­ment as well as as­cer­tain­ing the ex­tent of dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness of the coun­try.

Most of the equip­ments, es­pe­cially the search and res­cue equip­ments had been dis­trib­uted to all twenty Dzongkhags to fa­cil­i­tate ba­sic search and res­cue op­er­a­tion in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

How­ever, the Royal Au­dit Au­thor­ity in a Per­for­mance Au­dit on Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment from 2010-2015, found that the pro­cure­ment sys­tem and phys­i­cal ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the equip­ment re­vealed lapses and in­ad­e­qua­cies. It is found there are still large ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties of govern­ment equip­ment sup­plied to pre­pare and im­ple­ment for the ma­jor nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

The Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem was ini­ti­ated so that it is be­ing up­dated by fo­cal per­sons from Dzongkhags. How­ever, due to fre­quent reshuf­fle in dis­as­ter fo­cal per­sons in Dzongkhags, many of them didn’t have train­ing and aware­ness on use of search and res­cue equip­ment. Those peo­ple who had been pro­vided some ba­sic train­ing had for­got­ten what they learnt due to lack of re­fresher cour­ses. As a result, the uti­liza­tion of such equip­ment in times of dis­as­ter may be ren­dered dif­fi­cult.

It was man­dated in the Act, Emer­gency Op­er­a­tion Cen­ters (EOC) is for re­ceiv­ing dis­as­ter alerts and com­mu­ni­cat­ing it along with in­struc­tions and in­for­ma­tion and fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­sponse and re­lief op­er­a­tions. How­ever, it was found non es­tab­lish­ment of EOC. The EOC’s at the na­tional level is yet to be con­structed.

In the ab­sence of EOC’s most of the equip­ments dis­trib­uted were stored in poor con­di­tions with­out proper stor­age fa­cil­i­ties with in­stances of mis­use, dam­age and break­age, spe­cially the dig­i­tal cam­eras and emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion sets. Ide­ally, the con­struc­tion of EOCs should have pre­ceded the pro­cure­ment of equip­ment which could then be stored and man­aged prop­erly. In fact, most of the equip­ments were meant to be in­stalled at the EOC’s to co­or­di­nate re­sponse and re­cov­ery ac­tions to re­sources dur­ing the time of dis­as­ter.

Fur­ther, there was also no proper ac­count­abil­ity in man­ag­ing the sup­plied equip­ment. RAA ob­served that the Dzongkhags ad­min­is­tra­tion had not ac­counted the equip­ment in the stock reg­is­ter main­tained in the Dzongkhag. For in­stance, it has been found that there is no ac­count­abil­ity for the lost cam­eras and dam­aged search lights that are non-func­tional.

It also tran­spired that there were no ad­e­quate fea­si­bil­i­ties of con­sul­ta­tions done prior to procur­ing cer­tain equip­ment. For in­stance, the DDM had pro­cured satel­lite phones at the cost of Nu. O.232 mil­lion, which was not uti­lized since it was reg­is­tered with the Bhutan Tele­com Lim­ited (BTL). Fur­ther, an elec­tric power gen­er­a­tor pro­cured cost­ing Nu.0.420 mil­lion was found out of or­der and not us­able, RAA re­ported.

T he re­port also pointed out that DDM had not car­ried out proper need assess­ment prior to in­vest­ing in equip­ments. It is fur­ther stated that the way the equip­ment was man­aged re­vealed that there is min­i­mal regard for the scarce govern­ment re­sources, which lit­er­ally led to wastage and mis­man­age­ment of the govern­ment funds.

The au­dit was con­ducted pri­mar­ily in the De­part­ment of Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment (DDM)/ Sec­re­tariat of the na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity which func­tions as the na­tional cord­ing agency for the dis­as­ter man­age­ment in­clud­ing the op­er­a­tions of the Dzongkhags and other rel­e­vant govern­ment agen­cies in­volved in dis­as­ter man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

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