INQUIRIES ORDERED by his government into alleged corruption in various development projects and welfare schemes, launched by the previous Samajwadi Party administration, is likely to form a major part of the ‘white paper’ the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is set to release on Sunday. Cabinet Minister and government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said the challenges existing before the government will be highlighted in the white paper.
“The scarcity of funds in the state exchequer after BJP came to power, poor condition of different departments and failures of the previous government in improving condition of the state will be highlighted in the white paper,” a government official said. Since assuming office on March 19, the BJP government has already got a judicial probe conducted in the Gomti riverfront project, developed when Adityanath’s predecessor Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav, was the state Irrigation minister.
The state government has recently lodged an FIR in Lucknow against eight engineers in connection with the alleged scam, and sources said the probe may be handed over to the CBI in near future. Adityanath himself had inspected the riverfront project site in March and had expressed dissatisfaction when informed that 95 per cent of the Rs 1,513-crore project was utiltised but less than 65 per cent work had been completed. After officers presented a revised project cost of Rs 2,448 crore, Adityanath had sought a review of the necessity of remaining works, removal of unnecessary works, and quick completion. The government has also ordered inquiry in “Alpsankhyak Samudaayaon ke Kabristaanon/Anteyshti Sthal ki Bhoomi ki Suraksha Yojana” (scheme to build boundary walls around burial grounds to guard against encroachments).
Approximately Rs 1,300 crore was spent across the state during the last five years in building boundary walls around Muslim graveyards. The scheme was implemented under supervision of Azam Khan, who was the minister concerned. The government has constituted a three-member committee to probe this. Following Adityanath’s directive, another inquiry has been started in Janeshwar Mishra Park, Jai Prakash Narayan International Centre and beautification of Hussainabad area in the heritage zone of Lucknow’s old city area – all developed under direct supervision of Akhilesh, who handled the Housing portfolio.
The process of awarding tenders in these projects would also be inquired. On April 11, Adityanath had ordered a stop on implementation of Samajwadi Pension Scheme, a flagship public welfare scheme of the previous government. Adityanath had ordered a probe on whether existing beneficiaries were eligible for the pension scheme, as also the eligibility criterion laid down for selection of beneficiaries.
The government has stopped monthly pension of Rs 50,000 to recipients of Yash Bharti award and Padma awards from UP from March, and, in a review meeting of the Culture department on April 21, had ordered a thorough review of the awards, instituted by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 1994. The government has asked officers to look into the criteria of selecting the award winners. The BSP government under Mayawati stopped the scheme in 2007 but the Akhilesh administration revived it. It also raised the cash prize to Rs 11 lakh, and in 2015 decided to give a monthly pension of Rs 50,000 on demand.
Adityanath has also expressed dissatisfaction on quality of infrastructure development works under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), and asked for a committee under Urban Development Minister Suresh Khanna to probe the works executed by Jal Nigam. The government ordered inquiry into sale of 21 UP sugar mills in 2010-11 on suspicion that it involved a scam of approximately Rs 1,100 crore.