Cong alleges scam in PWD, demands CBI probe
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 11 2022: Questioning the whereabouts of the Rs 800 crore approved by the PWD for development works in assembly constituencies, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) working president MLA K Meghachandra has demanded the CBI to take up a sou moto case and investigate the same.

He also stated that Congress is not suffering any losses when its MLAs join other parties, while reminding that 3 MLAs of the ruling BJP government had resigned.

Addressing newspersons at Congress Bhawan here on Tuesday, Meghachandra mentioned that the Code of Conduct came into effect from January 8 and no new work order can be approved or issued till completion of the election process.

However, the contract year of the Works Department will end on March 31 this year.

Questioning why no work was taken up throughout the year, he conveyed that around Rs 500 crore for planned and Rs 300 crore for non-planned projects, totalling up to Rs 800 crore were approved for allocation.

The Finance Department, however, informed the officer concerned that there was no money, indicating that the whole thing was a huge scam.

Further questioning where the Works Department had allocated the total fund of Rs 800 crore, Meghachandra enquired the whereabouts of the fund, which was earmarked in the state budget and approved in-toto by the Works department for taking up approved programmes in the assembly constituencies, considering the Finance Department's response of non-availability of the funds (planned and non-planned) when an application was submitted for expenditure sanction.

He then demanded the CBI to take up a sou moto case and investigate into the Rs 800 crore scam.

Recalling the statements made by the CM and the Works Department of taking up road development works during Go to Hill and Go to Village programmes in the last 5 years; Meghachandra said: "All of these hint towards false commitments of the government.

Apart from failing to issues the work order of Rs 800 crore for development purposes, no liability for the work done during 2018-19 has been cleared.

The liabilities, which were cleared, belonged to the ministers.

"It is questionable why the funds allocated to the MLAs to carry out developmental works are pending, even after the liabilities were sanctioned during the budget session.

In addition to keeping the liabilities pending, Rs 40 crore each for the hills and the valley were released.

However, the whereabouts of the Rs 40 crore for the valley is unknown.

It is claimed'that the funds, which were meant for development of the constituencies, were utilised in repairing of the Airport Road.

"The department is allocating the funds on the basis of favouritism instead of taking up developmental works required in the constituencies.

Contractors had also staged protests demanding clearance of pending bills for works taken up in the constituencies.

Instead of allocating the funds department wise, the funds are being used to fill the pockets of the officers in the departments concerned.

Thus, it is difficult to understand who is truly in control of the government.

There is no hope of uniform development in the hills and the valley in such a situation," he remarked.

Meghachandra then went on to say that the decisions taken by the state cabinet on January 7 before the Code of Conduct took effect on January 8 cannot be translated into action.

After being informed that several orders were being implemented in connection with various cabinet meetings, orders for job recruitments are being backdated and funds ranging between Rs 15-20 lakh are being collected in the name of upgrading aided-colleges to full-fledged government colleges and private colleges to aided colleges.

"There is little hope of the elections being conducted in a free and fair manner.

In addition, transfer and posting orders of officers are being issued even though the Code of Conduct is already in effect.

ECI needs to act on this matter.

It should investigate the backdated orders and cancel the orders or consult with experts to prevent any wrongs and ensure strict adherence of the rules.

All are aware of the surge in job recruitments ahead of the elections as a means of collecting money.

Similar acts, which have not been witnessed during Congress rule, are being carried out presently," he said, adding that a letter has been forwarded to ECI and CEO Manipur to look into the matter and rectify the same.

Commenting on the increasing incidents of poll violence, Meghachandra, however, slammed the CM for shifting the blame oh another political party other than the BJP in the Wangoi incident.

It would be best to make the statements after conduct of a proper inquiry and investigation, he said.

"Congress wants a free and fair and peaceful election.

The CM's claims of improved law and order situation in the state is self-contradictory, seeing the rising poll-related violence and refusal to repeal AFSPA from Manipur.

The disturbed area tag should also be removed.

"Being a national party, it is common for some to join or leave Congress.

Some of those who defected from the party have been disqualified.

However, despite being the ruling government, 3 MLAs resigned from the party.

It is an exercise of his/her political right and there is nothing wrong for someone to join a party of their choice in politics.

Even if Dr Chaltonlien Amo has left C6ngress, there are many hundreds like him who want to join Congress.

There is no loss in his departure from the party", he contended.

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