Geeta Chowk on the crossing of Sector 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the city has become the city’s most-expensive roundabout with Panchkula Municipal Corporation (MC) spending a total of Rs 86.95 lakh on its beautification on two occassions, records have revealed.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had named the roundabout Geeta Chowk in 2015 during Gita Mahotsav in Haryana.
It is one of the eight roundabouts in Panchkula, which are under renovation and expected to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister this month. The date of inauguration is yet to be finalised.
Documents accessed by Chandigarh Newsline reveal that a tender of Rs 37.05 lakh for “beautification of Geeta Chowk” was first issued in December 2017. Contractor Balkar Saini got the work. Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal, however, says at that time, they had just revamped the pavements around the roundabout.
Saini said the tender was regarding the beautification of corners of the roundabout and he completed the same in March 2018.
Barely two months later, the MC issued another tender in May 2018 for beautification of Geeta Chowk. But this time, they issued the work order for revamping the roundabout at an estimated cost of Rs 44.50 lakh. The work was finally allotted to M/s Sakumbari engineering works at a cost of Rs 49.90 lakh. This is the same firm that has got work orders for revamping all the roundabouts in Panchkula for a total cost of Rs 2.84 crore.
Ravi Kant Swami, a former councillor of Panchkula, has now raised questions on the amount of money spent by the MC on the beautification of one roundabout. He has moved a written complaint seeking a thorough probe into the roundabout beautification tenders and work orders.
Swami says he has sent a written complaint via registered post to the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, CBI, Vigilance Bureau and Haryana Chief Minister and Chief Secretary, alleging that that the beautification tenders and work orders were never put up before the House, which was in existence till June 2018.
“An inquiry should be conducted into these beautification works. Also, the required duration of 21 days was not given and bids were invited in a hurry within seven days. Generally, this kind of an urgency is shown in case of emergency works. What emergency was there in beautification of roundabouts? Even after seven months, the work is not complete. There appears a bungling,” Swami said.
Former mayor Upinder Ahluwalia said not a word regarding the issue was brought before the House for discussion in December 2017 when the first tender was originally issued. “The government talks of zero tolerance on corruption and right under its nose, the corporation has become a hub of corruption. The issue of beautification of roundabouts was deliberately not put up before the House for discussion,” Ahluwalia said.
Municipal Commissioner Jogpal, however, said the DNITs are prepared by the engineering wing.
“If any wrong is found, they will be penalised,” he said. About Swami’s complaint, Jogpal said, “I have been working honestly in the corporation. Such complaints are politically motivated.”