After a vigilance inquiry into PWD projects carried out under the last Left Front regime, Tripura’s BJP-IPFT government has now ordered a probe into works under the transport department.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Tripura transport minister Pranajit Singha Roy said, “We have 173 buses under the Tripura Urban Transport Corporation Limited (TUTCL), out of which 101 were on the streets. When we assumed office, there was no trace of the others.”
In September last year, the state government ordered a departmental inquiry to trace the 69 buses, which were ‘missing’ in official documents. These buses were funded by the Government of India under provisions of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in different phases.
The minister said many employees of his department got busy tracing these vehicles and hauling them to government repair centres. “We brought in 50 among these for repairs. Sixteen have already been put back on the streets,” Singha Roy said.
Many others are in such bad shape they can’t be towed back, as they miss wheels, the engine, even parts of their bodies, said the minister. Three vehicles were ordered, paid for, but never delivered.
The departmental inquiry report and accounts were further tallied with reports of an audit ordered by the government. “Finally, we commissioned a vigilance investigation on the issue. We are hoping to get the report by next month,” the transport minister said.
On whether ex-transport minister Manik Dey would be investigated as part of the proceedings, Singha Roy declined to comment, but said “all stakeholders” would come under the ambit of investigation.
Last month, Badal Choudhury, PWD minister in the previous government, was arrested in connection with a Vigilance investigation into PWD works carried out in 2008-09. Choudhury was booked along with two others, former engineer in-chief Sunil Bhowmik and former chief secretary Yashpal Singh, in an alleged graft case of Rs638.40 crore.