Nitish hold high-level meeting on water-logging; errant officials face music

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday placed officials under suspension, withheld payment of salaries and issued show-cause notices to them after they were found wanting in discharge of their duties during water-logging in Patna this month.

Patna: The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday placed officials under suspension, withheld payment of salaries and issued show-cause notices to them after they were found wanting in discharge of their duties during water-logging in Patna this month.

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The chief minister held a hours-long meeting with members of his cabinet and top government officials. During the meeting that began at 4pm, the accountability of officials was fixed, remedial measures discussed and instructions were issued for strict implementation.

Briefing journalists, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said many officials posted in the Patna Municipal Corporation and Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO) were taken to task, while the project manager of the private company L&T, which has been carrying out the Namami Gange project , has been issued a show-cause notice.

The government took serious note of the fact that many pumps at pump houses across the city did not function when the need arose and drains were not cleared of garbage which prevented discharge of water once the showers ceased,” the chief secretary said.

He said show-cause notices have been issued to a number of BUIDCO officials, including a chief engineer, two superintending engineers, six executive engineers and executive engineer (mechanical) and an assistant engineer (mechanical).

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A BUIDCO executive engineer has been transferred, he said.

Among the municipal corporation officials who have been held accountable, six sanitary inspectors of Kankarbagh and Pataliputra have been placed under suspension.

Executive officer, city manager and chief sanitary officer of Kankarbagh have also been issued show-cause notices and payment of their salaries has been put on hold, the officer said.

“In addition, executive officer, chief sanitary inspector and all sanitary inspectors of Bankipur have been suspended. A total of 22 personnel working with the drainage pump system have been suspended and their salaries have been withheld,” the chief secretary said, adding that all those served with show-cause notices have been directed to reply at the earliest.

To prevent a repeat of water-logging, a four-member committee headed by the state’s development commissioner and comprising principal secretaries of road construction, urban development and housing and disaster management departments has been set up and mandated with submitting its report within a month, he said.

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Project Manager of L&T, which has been entrusted with carrying out the Namami Gange project, has also been issued a show-cause notice,” he said.

The chief minister also laid stress on speedy removal of encroachments over the drains and the cleansing of these for free discharge of waste water. New drainage pumping systems will be installed at 14 places across the city. The chief minister also said the committee shall identify any other officials whose lapse might have been responsible for the recent flooding of the city. The government would take action against them,” the chief secretary added.

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