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Honest engineers easy meat for the mafia

DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS entrusted to engineers have only made the latter soft targets for the mafia.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 01:20 IST

DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS entrusted to engineers have only made the latter soft targets for the mafia.

Principal Secretary, Home, SK Agarwal says engineers who wish to work with honesty live in constant fear.  During a review meeting of the PWD Department held recently, several officers drew his attention towards the “pressure tactics being adopted by the mafia,” he said. Agarwal rued that development was suffering in the Purvanchal Region particularly, where gangsters went all out to grab contracts.

The engineers who dared to oppose the mafia were summarily killed, assaulted or humiliated. Majority of these gangsters enjoyed political patronage and the police remained a mute spectator to their activities.
No doubt, the list of the engineers who have been killed and assaulted is increasing by the day.

Here’s a list
--RK Garg, an Executive Engineer posted in Yamuna Canal Project at Sharanpur was beaten up in the office by a local MLA on January 27.
--VR Singh, an Executive Engineer posted in Construction Division of PWD at Gonda as threatened of dire consequences by the contractors on November 11 last year. 
-- AH Zaidi, an Assistant Engineer in Ground Water Department posted at Regional Unit Banda was also threatened by anti social elements in his office on February 28, 2006. 
-- BN Tewari, a Junior Engineer in PWD posted at Sant Kabir Nagar was beaten up by miscreants in his office in June last year.
-- Ravi Pratap Singh, Junior Engineer in Irrigation Department posted in Saryu Drainage Unit, Gonda was murdered while he was on way home from office on March 21.
-- Rajkumar Sharma, Assistant Engineer posted in Irrigation Department in Harraya, Basti was killed in his house. 
-- Radheyshyam a Superintending Engineer posted in Irrigation Department at Rooreki was killed on July 18.

“The aim of the mafias and contractors is to make a fast buck and quality of work suffers. If the engineers send an adverse report and stop payments, they are at the receiving end,” said an executive engineer posted in the PWD Department.

Several engineers have complained to senior officials about this and even lodged FIRs but to no avail. Neither have the officials been able to provide adequate security to the engineers nor, has action been taken against the guilty.
‘Whistle-blowers’ have paid price with their life. LN Singh, Indu Bhusan, SC Rai, Masood Alam Siddiqui, SK Bajpai, Anwar Mehndi Rizvi, JC Bhaskar, PP Dutta engineers posted in various departments were killed on duty.

The gangsters’ daring is obvious from the following incident: When an Executive Engineer and an Assistant Engineer posted in Siddharthnagar were attending a meeting being chaired by the principal secretary, the criminals were making threat calls to the engineers on their cell phones. The engineers told Agarwal that they would be killed if they returned to Siddharthnagar.

When asked how many such mafia gangs were active in the region, DGP Bua Singh could name only two — Hanuman Shukla gang and Vineet Singh gang. But the engineers posted in various districts say several gangs are active all over the state. Majority of these gangs are enjoying the support of the local MPs and MLAs.    

UP Engineers’ Association general secretary Akhtar Ali Farooqui says the association has demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing of the engineers so that the mafia- politician nexus could be exposed. “We have urged the Ministers and Officers to release contract on the guideline of the financial handbook, but in vain,” he says.