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Can the present UP CS escape responsibility in Rs 1500 crore river front project ?

The report throws light on various aspects of the corruption as how the public money got wasted as even after spending 95 per cent of the total project cost, only  60 per cent of the work had been completed. This was despite the fact

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Sanjay BhatnagarBy Sanjay Bhatnagar

Published on 9 Jun 2017 12:49 PM GMT

Can the present UP CS escape responsibility in Rs 1500 crore river front project ?
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Can present UP CS escape responsibility in Rs 1500cr river front project?
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Lucknow: The 'probe' has been a catch-word for the Yogi government ever since it has come to power in Uttar Pradesh. The one such probe of Rs 1500-crore Gomti River Front of state capital, however, brings forward more questions than the answer.

The 74-page inquiry report of Alok Singh Committee has left with many loose ends rendering it as a tool of fresh tussle among the bureaucrats , mainly the former and the present Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh.

The report has held the former Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan responsible for the poor monitoring while ignoring the accountability of present Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar who,incidentally, monitored the project for good seven months. More importantly, Rahul Bhatnagar , who was Principal Secretary (Finance) when the project was given financial go, headed the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) which not only passess the mega-projects but also looks after the other parts of the implementation.

Also Read: Senior IFS officer accuses senior IAS Sanjiv Saran of rampant corruption

Rahul Bhatnagar as EFC head not only cleared the total project cost but also the controversial Rs 80-crore fountain was also given a go ahead by him. Simply said, Rahul Bhatnagar was cleared of any irregularity in Rs 1513-crore mega project , which was aimed at beautifying the Gomti river banks, despite having been served as Principal Secretary (Finance) and the Chief Secretary.

In fact, the findings have given clean chit to Rahul Bhatnagar but cast an aspersion on Alok Ranjan, in the capacity of Chairman of project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the then Principal Secretary (Irrigation ) Deepak Singhal beside Executive Engineer Roop Singh Yadav and others. Surprisingly, no politician including the former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav whose dream project was this and Shiv Pal Singh, the then Irrigation Minister of UP, the implementing department.

You may also read: It rains money for Gomti River Front project amid apprehensions

The report throws light on various aspects of the corruption as how the public money got wasted as even after spending 95 per cent of the total project cost, only 60 per cent of the work had been completed. This was despite the fact that EFC has technical experts with it, the then Finance Principal Secretary never asked for technical audit or question the cost and time over-run.

The fruitless foreign visits, tendering process and awarding of tenders for this mega project were some other aspects which have been questioned in the report. It also mentioned that no environmental clearances was sought even as the project involved the running river of Lucknow.

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Writer is a bi-lingual journalist with experience of about three decades in print media before switching over to digital media. He is a political commentator and covered many political events in India and abroad.

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