Cong leader alleges Rs100-cr fraud in Smart City projects: The Tribune India
Tribune press service
Jalandhar, November 26
A city-based congressional leader today alleged corruption in the various Smart City projects being undertaken in the city.
Chief Sudesh Vij alleged that the level of corruption in the works reached such a point that twin contracts were awarded and double payments were issued for a job. He said frauds of at least Rs 100 crore were committed by those responsible for the Smart City projects.
Vij said it was shocking to residents that an amount of Rs21 crore was allocated for the beautification of 11 roundabouts. âEveryone thought that with such a huge investment, the facade of the city would be lifted. But to our surprise, it was only a few more tiles that were laid around each roundabout that were widened. Due to the enlargement, roundabouts like those at HMV College only cause traffic jams. Some roundabouts are equipped with high pole lights. Spending up to Rs4 lakh was always acceptable given the work done, âhe fulminated.
He regretted that an amount of Rs1.25 crore had been spent on already developed parks such as Beant Singh Park. âSome vigilant advisers like Rohan Sehgal were able to save the funds under the LED lighting project or else the work had been allocated for Rs 274 crore. Now the same work is being done for Rs 44 crore. But there are still some problems here, because the new light points being installed are 30 watts against 70 watts according to the contract â, he further lamented.
The congressman said the whole city was in turmoil over the repeated digging and the endless delay in relaying the roads due to the ongoing work to lay underground water pipes for the 24 hour surface water project. 24 and 7 days a week. He bluntly blamed MC Commissioner and Smart City Project CEO Karnesh Sharma for all the wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Karnesh Sharma said it was wrong to blame him for everything, especially when there are SEs, SDOs and a whole bunch of officials in every department overseeing the work. “Next to them we have advisers who sign on for all the jobs and also the third party control system in place.”
Regarding the 24/7 water supply work, he said it was carried out by the Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Of the roundabout beautification project, he said: âIt was ordered before I got it. Yet when I got there I stopped it at Rs 8 crore of work.
Meanwhile, former CPS and BJP leader KD Bhandari has called for an investigation into the mess of Smart City project funds.