LOCAL POWER officials and contractors having a strong nexus finally succeeded in getting rid of a senior UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) officer, who was coming in their way of selling and purchasing material for the Ardh Kumbh.
The UPPCL management transferred chief zonal manager, Allahabad, SM Agrawal on Wednesday evening and posted him in Kanpur Electricity Supply (KESCo) from where he had been posted in Allahabad only a few months ago. Sources in the UPPCL attributed his ‘humiliating’ transfer to his objection to financial irregularities being committed by power officials posted for the Ardh Kumbh Mela and local contractors. Agrawal known for uprightness and clean image cancelled many contracts invited on abnormally high rates and in many cases forced the contractors to make downward revision of rates.
“For example, the mela officers of the power department finalised a contract with a local contractor for the purchase of some material including cable boxes for Rs 24 lakh. But when the matter came to Agrawal’s knowledge, he said the cost was abnormally high. He cancelled the contract and purchased the material directly from the manufacturing firm for Rs 6 lakh only,” disclosed sources.
Similarly, he cancelled the purchase orders for the nut-bolts. The officers had agreed to purchase nut-bolts at the rate of Rs 70 per kg, but Agrawal managed to purchase the same for Rs 38 per kg. “He must have saved department’s Rs 1 crore which would have otherwise gone to the contractors and the officials,” said an officer.
According to sources Commissioner, Allahabad and Mela Adhikari, Pragyan Mishra, who had been working in close cooperation with Agrawal, were shocked to hear the news of the officers transfer and tried to get his transfer stayed, but in vain. In fact, the UPPCL’s mela officers and the contractors are said to have used local influential Samajwadi Party leaders to remove an ‘intruding’ Agrawal from their way. When asked if he was taken into confidence before transferring Agrawal, Mela Officer, Pragyan Mishra did not give a direct reply.
“You better ask the department” was all he said.
The State Government has given around Rs 30 crore to the UPPCL to carry out various electricity works in Allahabad in view of the forthcoming Ardh Kumbh Mela.