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Another SAD one for Cong
BOT contracts to come under scanner
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 25
While the Vigilance Bureau has already lodged an FIR against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and former local bodies minister Chaudhury Jagjit Singh in the Ludhiana City Centre scam case, the SAD-BJP government will review some controversial BOT (build, operate and transfer) contracts awarded to some private companies by the Local Bodies Department during the previous government.

Punjab local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia told The Tribune that every controversial BOT project would be reviewed, and if irregularities found, the Vigilance Bureau would be asked to take action against the guilty and the deals cancelled. Several BOT contracts worth crores of rupees were awarded to some private companies in different parts of the city during the Amarinder-led government.

The then Leader of Opposition in the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, K.D. Bhandari, now BJP MLA from Jalandhar (north), had raised the issue of alleged corruption in the allotment of BOT projects at the meeting of the MC and demanded an inquiry. The BJP had even made this an issue during the recently concluded Punjab Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, talking to The Tribune, Bhandari said he would raise the issue of alleged corruption by then local bodies minister Chaudhury Jagjit Singh and mayor Surender Mahay in the Punjab Assembly and demand handing over the cases to the Vigilance Bureau.

Elaborating, he said the work on two foot overbridges built near the bus stand and BMC Chowk were allotted to Amritsar-based Durga Advertisers on BOT basis. He said the money spent on each of the overbridges was shown as Rs 45 lakh while actually not more than Rs 20 lakh had been spent.

He further said both overbridges had been leased for 81 months and presently the owners of the company were getting Rs 3 lakh every month from billboards displayed on the same.

As a result, the company would get Rs 2.43 crore from the two overbridges while spending only Rs 40 lakh, he added.

Similarly palms had also been greased while allocating the work of a rail overbridge (RoB) at the DAV College rail crossing and basement parking near Jyoti Chowk on BOT basis, and added that this was also allotted to Durga Advertisers.

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