Arjun Main Battle Tank has suffered order delay despite the MBT proving its efficacy in trials

New Delhi: The Army Ordnance Corps has faced flak from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for instances of delays-- in some cases up to 301 weeks-- in placing procurement orders and extra expenditure.

The delays in placing orders and materialisation of supplies in case of critical items was an "inherent" problem affecting operational preparedness of the Army, it said.

"Against the prescribed time frame of 23 weeks in Defence Procurement Manual, delay of 13 to 301 weeks was noticed in certain supply orders. The delays were mainly in obtaining acceptance of necessity and completing the tendering process within the bid validity period," the CAG said.

"Against the supply orders/indents placed on Ordnance Factories, Defence Public Sector Undertakings and other vendors, supply orders valuing more than Rs 700 crore were outstanding beyond the delivery period and awaiting completion for the last one to 19 years," it said in a press release.

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Army Ordnance Corp (AOC) is responsible for providing material and logistics support to the Indian Army during war and peace.

The inventory management functions of AOC primarily involve provisioning, receipt, storage, preservation, accounting, stocktaking and issue of ordnance stores.

The CAG also cited cases of "extra expenditure" due to failure to accept the tender within prescribed period and procurement at higher rates.

"Failure to accept the tender within the validity period in one case led to retendering and consequent placement of supply orders at an extra expenditure of Rs 6.75 crore," the CAG said.

"There were instances of rates in central procurements at central depots being higher than their local purchases rates made within the last one to six months resulting in an extra expenditure of Rs 4.36 crore," it said.

The CAG said procurement agencies did not utilise the provision of repeat order/option clause and instead placed fresh supply orders at rates higher than the earlier ones, resulting in an extra expenditure of Rs 3.89 crore.