Himachal Pradesh BJP today hit out at Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh over his reported remarks that “contractors and not officers” are running the PWD and said it only lends credence to its allegation that “contractor mafia” is active in the state.
“The reported remarks of chief minister at a function at Rohroo in Shimla yesterday that contractors are calling the shots and not the engineers in the Public Works Department (PWD) are endorsement of allegations of the BJP, and only demonstrate the helplessness of the government to rein in the erring contractors”, state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti alleged.
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In a statement, he said, the “situation was more worrying” as the chief minister is himself holding the department.
“The portfolio of Public Works Department is with the chief minister himself and if his remarks are true, it only demonstrate lack of will on the part of the government to crack down on erring contractors”, he claimed.
Satti further alleged Singh might have “given such statement to project his clean image but it was a known fact that such loot by contractors was not possible without the protection of the government.”
On the other hand, the chief minister today lauded the engineers for their role in development of the state and said that they work in tough terrain under hostile conditions for development of the state and it is due to their hard work that Himachal was a model of hill development for other states.
Addressing the 26th General Seminar of Junior Engineers Association here today, he said, civil, mechanical and electrical engineers in various departments were instrumental in achieving the targets and taking the state ahead.
Today, there is close network of 35,000 kms of roads compared to 288 kms when Himachal Pradesh was formed.
All the villages had been electrified and there were hardly any habitations which were bereft of drinking water facility, Singh claimed, adding, “I have mostly kept with me the PWD, Education and Finance departments in all my tenures as these were the backbone of development of the state”.