Ludhiana, October 26
Throwing to the wind the blanket ban orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the district administration against the sinking of new submersible pumps in the district, declared a red zone, officials and field staff of the Municipal Corporation (MC) have been charged with collusion and give a blind eye to the boring of new submersible pumps.
Bringing the latest instance of a submersible pump being installed near Tikon Park in Model Town (property No. 636) falling in zone D to the notice of authorities, a social activist Gajjan Singh Jassal has said that there had been many instances where action was deliberately delayed by the field staff and supervisory officials of the operation and maintenance (O & M) wing of the MC to let the companies take away boring machines and confine the action to just paper work.
“Not only this, in many cases, money changes hands between the property owners and field staff of the MC and the newly sunk submersible pumps are allowed to become operational and regularised in back date (before the date of the ban orders),” said Jassal in his complaint to the NGT and the Central Ground Water Board.
The copies of the complaint have also been sent to the Chief Minister, the Local Government Department, Punjab, Chief Vigilance Officer of Local Government, the MC Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner.
Attaching the copies of the WhatsApp messages sent to the Superintending Engineer, the SDO and Junior Engineer of O and M branch of the MC (D-zone), Jassal maintained that after he lodged a telephonic complaint along with photographic evidence, the field staff purportedly intimated the property owner and also sounded the boring company because when the MC employees visited the spot, the equipment for boring had disappeared.
Alleging that this was not the sole instance of the apparent collusion of the MC employees in flouting the ban on the sinking of the submersible pumps, the complaint mentioned many other instances where such pumps were allowed to be installed with impunity after palms of the regulatory staff (MC employees) were greased by the violators.
In his complaint, Jassal demanded stern disciplinary action against the conniving MC employees/officials and criminal proceedings (FIRs) against guilty property owners for flouting the ban on drawing groundwater.
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