Sanjeev Singh Bariana
& Anirudh Gupta
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Ferozepur, Apr 18
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) suspects a scam in the cleaning and repair of the Ferozepur-Sriganganagar canal and other portions at Harike headworks.
The inquiry based on a complaint to Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh pertains to misappropriation of funds sanctioned for desilting of 55,000-foot canal from Gurditiwala Head to Balewala Head. Also under probe are repair of Harike headworks and filling of hollow spaces in the Ferozepur feeder canal.
Fudged dispatch registers, in which details of the works are written down, gave the lead to an “unchecked scam” in making money from the desilting project.
Sources said the “dispatch registers were not maintained, reflecting gaps in the budget estimates and payments for work. Payments have been made against wrong estimates”.
A Vigilance team led by SSP Ravinder Kumar Bakshi seized documents pertaining to the ongoing works. The complainant, who wished not to be named, forwarded a set of names of persons involved in the scam and that of places where funds had been misused.
The repair of Harike Headworks was necessitated as almost 1,200 cusecs of water had been wasted on account of leakage. In the past 13 years, the headworks had never been closed for repair. Of the 31 gates at Harike, 14 are not operational. Other gates, too, need repair.
At present, the headworks are closed for repair.
The canal system, built in 1958, demanded repair and desilting. There has been delay in repairing the canal and this might affect cotton crop in this region.
Rana Gurjit could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts.
VB carries out raids
Vigilance teams on Monday carried out raids at Harike office of the canal department as part of the inquiry into misappropriation of funds. SSP Ravinder Kumar Bakshi told The Tribune, “The VB is verifying records of ongoing projects and of those that are yet to be started. I cannot comment on the findings till the inquiry is complete.”
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