By Sandeep Banerjee: The Directorate of Factories and Boilers looks after registration of factories and boilers, grant of licence, enforcement of safety, health and welfare measures and quality assurance of boilers during manufacture, operation, maintenance, etc. While Odisha has embarked on a path of Industrial development, it is really unfortunate that the affairs within the corridors of the Directorate of Factories and Broilers are far from satisfactory. There is rampant corruption with huge money changing hands for moving anything and everything. ONI is doing this exclusive as an eye-opener on the basis of specific information and complaints involving genuine sources.
A registered company had to shell out an amount of approximately one crore to the Directorate against the vouch of getting a contract of the Rourkela Steel plant. But even then nothing moved as in sealing this contract. Aware that they may have been duped , this Company had no other means but resort to filing a case against the Directorate, with specifically naming the top official involved, in the Orissa High Court. However, the proceedings of this case is pending despite a good time lapse.
Nothing is impossible, as corruption runs very high inside the Directorate today. For almost all Boiler Inspection and granting certificates, hefty amount is gulped down. The Director himself is tainted with a Vigilance proceeding hanging on him. ONI found out that the said person was already under Vigilance scanner when he was elevated to the top post. A present Deputy Director holds huge grievance against the present Head for bypassing him to the top post despite being blacklisted. He (the said Deputy Director) made his displeasure known to the ONI with the lament that it is very unfortunate as the case is well known to the Ministry of Labour, under which the Directorate operates. However, this lament is highly ironical as the ONI has stumbled on the fact that this Deputy Director himself is a money making machine and his hands are fully dipped in corruption, although he has been successful in evading the Vigilance till date! One must give full credit to him on this count.
One can just judge the state of affairs when on being squared up by this Senior Correspondent of the ONI with some direct and pointed questions regarding the corruption and recent deals involving huge money, a very senior official of the Directorate (who, in the clear knowledge of the ONI, is himself very much involved) just gave a nervous smile and said, “Sitting in my very office what do you expect in reply from me to these questions? You know better than me. In fact you seem to have all the information”, he said.
The ONI has also verified that it is indeed a fact that the State Labour Department is well aware of not only the Vigilance case hanging on the Director but also of the many ill practices that have become routine in the Directorate today. Yet they prefer to sleep on the issue! What should be our inference from this?