Haryana Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain on Friday ordered a probe into the alleged discrepancies in the ongoing roundabout beautification work in Panchkula. Eight roundabouts in Panchkula are being beautified at a cost of Rs 2.84 crore.
“I have ordered a probe after reading all the reports and sought an explanation from principal secretary, urban local bodies, in this regard. I have also asked the technical advisor of our urban local bodies department to seek all the relevant records and examine them thoroughly. The officers will submit a report within seven working days from today,” Jain told Chandigarh Newsline.
Technical Advisor of Urban Local Bodies, Vishal Seth, told Newsline, “I have got all the relevant records and am examining them. I am assessing the loss that has allegedly occurred. From the documents which I have studied till now, I feel that the rates of horticulture work are really high. I am comparing the estimates with the market rates. What I am worried about is that the payment has already been released to the contractor on exorbitant rates. We shall see how to proceed.”
Panchkula Municipal Corporation’s Executive Engineer L C Chauhan had alleged that the payment of Rs 1.93 crore was released to the work-executing agency in his absence and despite the fact that he had pointed out grave discrepancies in the roundabout beautification work. He had also written to the Panchkula police seeking registration of an FIR, apprehending that his signatures were “being misused”on “approval and payment related files”. The Panchkula police, however, has not yet acted on his complaint.
On Friday, Panchkula Congress leaders and traders also held a press conference and demanded a thorough probe into the beautification work. Congress workers have also threatened to stage a sit-in in front of Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal’s house from January 16 if no action is taken till January 15.
Led by Bajrang Garg, presidnet of Haryana Beopar Mandal, the Congress workers even questioned why Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was silent on the issue. “This roundabout beautification project was one of the pet projects of CM. The corruption by officers is now out in the open, especially when MC’s own Executive Engineer has said that he had been pointing out grave lapses in the quality of material used in roundabout beautification and the exorbitant rates that were paid to the contractor. Why hasn’t the CM ordered a probe into it?” Garg alleged while addressing the mediapersons.
Chandigarh Newsline, in a series of news articles, has highlighted the glaring discrepancies in the roundabout beautification project currently underway in Panchkula.
‘Not aware of the complaint’
A written complaint by Executive Engineer L C Chauhan, dated December 29, still awaits police action on it. Chauhan has sought registration of an FIR against “conspirators” who, he suspects, “misused” his signatures on “approvals and payment-related files”. However, Panchkula’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Kamaldeep Goyal said, “I am not aware of the complaint. As per my information, no such FIR has been registered.”