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Irrigation scam

2 Jul. 2015 11:05 PM IST

It would appear that there exists a nexus in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council(KAAC) between corrupt officials and executive members in the light of the multi-crore irrigation scam that was brought to light and carried in this newspaper. According to a recent report, the KAAC has been receiving around Rs.30 to 40 crore annually from the Centre for irrigation projects. The scam has been an open secret in the district till the report exposed the entire shady deals in print. It was alleged, that projects used to be fractionalised in the region of around Rs.8 crore each. The projects then were distributed by the nexus to favoured contractors without floating public tender. That hundreds of crore rupees worth of projects have been distributed on the basis of favour and that too by violating the rules that demand public tender, is shocking. Worse still, it was also alleged, that full payments were released despite only 10% works done for the projects. That this criminal nexus could go on for years, that is fifteen years, without the district administration having got wind of it, is very mystifying. Perhaps, it may be that that the district administration may have been well aware of the continuing scams but that its officers may have decided to look the other way. It may however be recalled, that as per the report carried in this newspaper, an officer in the rank of Principal Secretary in the KAAC had stumbled on the racket within and on further probe, discovered that bills were being passed for full payment despite hardly 10% work done. When the Principal Secretary refused to allow the siphoning of money meant for public, he fell foul of the powerful KAAC which later summarily ordered his transfer. The transfer order was issued by a deputy secretary in the KAAC and also surprisingly, the victimised officer was ordered to relinquish charge without handing over to the successor. The entire KAAC machinery was thrown out of gear when no officer wanted to take charge because the victimised officer had taken his case to the court. The KAAC has almost the same constitutional powers as that of a legislative assembly or a mini-assembly with certain specific powers that basically empower the tribals in framing their own laws as provided under the constitution of India. The KAAC receives funding directly from the centre which is voted and passed by the state assembly. It was disclosed that during the past fifteen years, KAAC received over Rs.500 crore for various irrigation schemes to be implemented in the district. If much of the money had been siphoned away through the nexus, then it stands to reason, that some persons have certainly made tons of money. This, in itself, would certainly make the irrigation schemes among one of the biggest scams. This also goes to show, that during the decades, the nexus of vested interests have made the functioning of the council as a sham for scam. If, as what has been reported is true, then it means that there could be many projects that do not exist on the ground but only on paper. Therefore, for the sake of people and greater interest of justice, Dispur needs to take note and probe the entire shady dealings in order to unearth the facts.

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