Islamabad - The 500 million rupees Balancing Modernization & Rehabilitation (BMR) project of National Institute of Electronics (Nie), which is actually aimed to support the struggling electronics industry of the country by imparting trainings and creating jobs, is manufacturing motherboards for Pakistan Army and other defence organisations – something clearly out of its mandate.
This was claimed by BMR project Project Director Naseer Qureshi when this scribe called to get his point of view on alleged corruption in the project. Nie is an affiliated department of Ministry of Science and technology and its objective is to promote electronics in the country through development, training and research activities.
Certain sources had told The Nation that there were massive level irregularities in this project. They alleged that instead of making six state of the art labs and training technical staff of the country and making research based prototypes to facilitate the struggling electronics industry, as per the PC-1, no lab was established in six years. The project was approved in 2007.
They said that only one project – construction of an assembly line – was completed but it was given on rent to a private contractor, who is using the government facility and machinery to carry out his own private jobs. According to sources, in this project six labs had to be established in the organisation for research purposes and to train people so that they could start their own business or could get employment, under BMR Project.
Under BMR project state of the art Consumer Electronics Lab, General Purpose Lab, Electromedical Equipment Lab, Automotive Electronics Lab, Power Lab and Communication Lab were to be established. Construction of the building to house these labs was started in 2007 by PWD and was completed in 2012. After the construction of building, Naseer Qureshi was appointed as Project Director of BMR on the direct orders of the then Science and Technology Minister Chgangez Khan Jamali. Interestingly, Science and Technology secretary, who is appointing authority, gave a dissenting note on the appointment.
After the appointment, Qureshi started purchases on mass level and most of the budget of the project was spent on purchase of equipment which was not in accordance to PC-1. Today, around 400 million rupees have been spent on equipment and most of the equipment purchased has been dumped into storerooms, it is learnt. No lab has been established so far and no human resource has been recruited.
One assembly line, worth 60 million, which was for the manufacturing of electronic devices on mass level so that organisation could generate revenues and become self reliant, is operational but it has been rented out.
This machine was bought by the supplier Micropak, which after the installation made some kind of a deal with the high ups and is now manufacturing his products, according to sources. This unit is manufacturing LEDs in bulk, but organisation is not benefiting from this mass production, sources claimed.
The project director denied all allegations and claimed that he is facilitating defence organisations from the assembly line project. He said that Micropak ran the machines in initial days and the machines were not rented to Micropak. Qureshi said that the human resource was not recruited due to ban on employment. He said that labs could not be completed as major chunk of funds was spent on building.
Qureshi said that assembly line which was completed has been producing products for defence organisations namely NRTC and NESCOM. He said that the lab was used for the production of motherboards for the field exchanges of Pakistan Army and it has manufactured thousands of boards for Army.
Answering a question he said he has no figures that how much electronic equipment was supplied to defence organisations and how much money will be earned.
He admitted that no money was deposited in the organisation’s account but said that as job was carried out for defence organisations, he cannot say when and what they will pay. He admitted that doing jobs for defence organisation was against the mandate of BMR as 500 million rupees were actually allocated for generating employment in the country.
When the scribe contacted Ministry of Production to confirm Qureshi’s claims, nobody was available for comment. Ministry of Defence Production PRO, Narita Farman neither responded to a number of calls made on his phone nor did he reply the text messages.