Guwahati: Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Debabrata Saikia on Monday demanded a probe into alleged gross irregularities by GMC officials in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation drain-cleaning scheme, 2021.
The scheme was launched in the month of January 2021, during the tenure of Ex-CM Sarbananda Sonowal.
Saikia in a video claimed that soon after the launching of the scheme GMC- drain-cleaning scheme, 2021, tenders were invited by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on January 28, 2021 in respect of works for cleaning, de-silting and maintenance of 69 drains along with the rivers Basistha and Mora Bharalu. However, the amount sanctioned for the said works is alleged to be grossly inflated.
“For instance, for the works mentioned above the amount sanctioned for 2018-2020 (to cover three years) was Rs. 74,22,76,000 (over Rs. 74.22 crore); however, the amount sanctioned in January, 2021 to cover the same works during 2020-2021 (just one year) was an astronomical Rs. 137 crore. Subsequently, the outgoing Commissioner, GMC extended the period of works till March, 2024 (3 years) vide an Order dated 20-05-2021, allegedly to minimize the damage of adverse reactions to the exorbitant hike in the cost of the works. It may be noted that contracts have been awarded before this Order was issued by the outgoing Commissioner, which leaves a question mark over its legal validity,” said Saikia in the video.
He went on to say, “An amount of Rs. 99,99,000 for 3 years was sanctioned by the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) for cleaning and de-silting of IOC pipeline and maintenance from Super Market to Sasal VIP Road for 2018-2020(Package Serial No. 54). Again another amount of Rs 7,81,87,070 for just 1 year (since amended)sanctioned by GDD for cleaning and de-silting of IOC pipeline and maintenance from Super Market to Sasal VIP Road for 2021(Package Serial No. 65).”
Similarly, Saikia mentioned that the GDD sanctioned Rs 2,53,17,000 (3 years) for cleaning and de-silting of Lakhimi Jaan from Bhetapara (near river Basistha) to Dakhin Gaon Pump House for 2018-2020 (Package Serial No. 53) and again another amount of Rs 6,07,80,013 for just 1 year (since amended) was sanctioned by GDD for cleaning and de-silting of Lakhimi Jaan from Bhetapara (near river Basistha) to Dakhin Gaon Pump House for 2021(Package Serial No. 64).
“GDD sanctioned another Rs 5,20,97,000 (3 years) for de-silting of river Bharalu for 2018-2020 (Package Serial No. 39) and later, an amount sanctioned by GDD for de-silting of river Bharalu for 2021 (Package Serial No. 43): Rs. 8,05,07,851 for just 1 year (since amended),” added Debabrata Saikia.
While sharing the comparative examples of the alleged exorbitant and unjustifiable hike in budget sanctioned for various works of cleaning, de-silting and maintenance of drains in the Guwahati city, Saikia appealed to the current CM-Sarma led BJP government for ordering a probe into the alleged misappropriation of the funds by GMC in the drain-cleaning projects at the earliest.
Furthermore, he stated that the entire scam allegedly involves some senior engineers/officials of the GMC and a section of contractors favoured by the Ex-CM Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government.