Alleged corruption in road construction tenders at the Faridabad Municipal Corporation rocked the Haryana Legislative Assembly session Tuesday as the Opposition Congress demanded that the state government must expedite the inquiry into the case and punish the guilty. The issue was raised during Question Hour on the second day of the ongoing monsoon session.
Responding to the questions raised by Opposition members, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said “directions shall be given to the vigilance department to complete the ongoing inquiry at the earliest”. Khattar also assured the House that “strict action shall be taken against the officers/employees whoever would be found guilty in the investigation”.
Apprising the House about the details gathered so far, Khattar said, “It is mentioned in Rule 8 of the Municipal Rules, 1976, that only 10 per cent enhancement can be done in the construction work. However, in many cases, there has been an enhancement of more than 10 per cent. This is because the defined interpretation of Rule 8 is not correct. Directions will be given to the department to correct this interpretation. If there is more than 10 per cent enhancement, then a re-tender should be done. It was decided with the cooperation of the local people that the road in question should be made of RNC and not of coaltar. Hence, there was a difference in the rate of coal tar and RNC.
Yet, if there is any kind of corruption in it, then action will be taken after investigation”.
Adding to Khattar’s reply, Urban Local Bodies Minister Dr Kamal Gupta said: “As far as the departments concerned providing related documents required by the investigating agency, these were made available to the inquiry officer on September 7, 2020. The matter was discussed during the meeting of the committee on local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions and the committee was apprised by the commissioner, municipal corporation, Faridabad that a vigilance inquiry was being conducted in the matter. The then commissioner, MC, Faridabad, had approved the subject matter and specifications of the work. The Vigilance bureau is investigating the matter and action shall be taken based on the vigilance bureau’s report”.
War of words between Geeta Bhukkal and Dushyant Chautala
Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala had a heated exchange when the latter responded to the issue of the poor condition of roads in Jhajjar that was raised by Bhukkal Monday. As Chautala tabled the assessment report accompanied with video and photographic evidence of the roads in Jhajjar, Bhukkal reiterated that she stands by the pictures that she had shown in the House.
At the same time, Bhukkal raised the issue of the Jhajjar bypass that was yet to be made by the state government. Replying to her, Chautala asked her to make the land available for the construction of the bypass. Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda intervened and pointed out that it was the duty of the state government to acquire the land and initiate construction of the bypass. Hooda also added that it was not the MLA who had to provide land to the state government, but the government must use provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, acquire the land, pay compensation to farmers/land owners and ensure that infrastructure is created for the benefit of the people.
CET for 28,000 Group C & D posts in November
The Common Eligibility Test (CET) for the recruitment of about 28,000 Group-C and Group-D posts in Haryana will be conducted on November 5, 6 and 7, 2022. Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar made this announcement while replying to the issue raised by Independent MLA Balraj Kundu during the Zero Hour. “It has been decided to conduct the CET examination through the National Testing Agency and the date for this has been fixed on November 5, 6 and 7”, Khattar said.
Ban on overloading vehicles
Opposition MLA Renu Bala raised the question of overloaded vehicles plying on state’s roads and being one of the major reasons for road fatalities. Submitting his reply on the floor of the House, Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma said “state government is committed to banning the plying overloaded vehicles in the state. During the current financial year (from April 1, 2022, to July 31, 2022), a total of 15,751 overloaded vehicles have been penalised and a fine amounting to Rs 66,48,36,100 has been recovered. Apart from this, 460 driving licenses have been cancelled and 152 permits have been cancelled” assuring the House that special checking drives shall be launched to curb the overloading in commercial vehicles.
Work in housing colonies
Dr Kamal Gupta apprised the House that municipalities should send proposals within three months on which work will be completed in the next three months. Responding to a question during Question Hour, Gupta informed the House that “layout plans of about 2,176 colonies have been received from the Town and Country Planning Department which have also been forwarded to the concerned municipalities for taking further necessary action as per the Act and norms. Action to notify the colonies under the ‘Haryana Management of Municipal Areas Lacking Civil Amenities and Infrastructure (Special Provisions) Act 2016’ after receipt of resolution from the concerned municipal body and if the colony fulfils the criteria laid down for notification has been done. So far, 212 colonies have been passed in 11 municipalities. Municipalities are also verifying the layout plan of such colonies as per norms.
Recently, four municipalities have submitted their reports on 22 colonies to the department”.
“Haryana Management of Municipal Areas Lacking Civil Amenities and Infrastructure (Special Provisions) Act, 2016, has been amended on September 10, 2021. According to the amendment, the condition of having construction work on the first 50 per cent and 75 per cent of the plots in the new colony has been removed. Further, all the colonies have been divided into category-wise groups, which include colonies with a built-up area of up to 25 per cent, between 25 and 50 per cent, between 50 and 75 per cent and colonies with more than 75 per cent built-up area,” Gupta added.