UP: Now,Prime Minister’s Office asks CWC to look into Gomti River Front irregularities
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has already recommended a CBI probe into the multi-crore project. But with the PMO referring the matter to CWC, chances of a parallel investigation by any other agency are dim.lucknow Updated: Sep 08, 2017 12:55 IST
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked he Central Water Commission (CWC) to look into charges of gross violation of environmental norms and irregularities in the Gomti River Front Development project, a much-publicised initiative of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has already recommended a CBI probe into the multi-crore project. But with the PMO referring the matter to CWC, chances of a parallel investigation by any other agency are dim. Government officials, however, chose to remain mum on the status of CBI inquiry into the project. “We have not received any official communication from the CBI so far?” was the evasive reply of a senior home department official requesting anonymity.
The PMO’s decision comes in the wake of a 48-page dossier submitted on the Gomti River Front project by a group of professional researchers and scientists from India and the US, who claim domain expertise in technology, environmental management, economics, social science and their practical implications. “We have received a communication from the PMO informing us that secretary, CWC, Ashis Banerjee has been appointed the points persons in the matter and we will soon touch base with him,” said Rakesh Prasad, a member of the team.
The report expresses concern over “major loss to the river ecology along with an imminent danger to a vast population living and dependent on this river system.”
“The damage is irreversible in some instances, and we have a strong feeling that no environment clearance or impact study was undertaken before starting work on the project,” said a river expert on the team adding that the authorities refused to provide them relevant information through their RTI query.
The project came into government scanner on April 5, when soon after coming to power Adityanath had set up a three-member judicial panel to probe financial irregularities in the Rs 1503 crore River Front project. The committee headed by retired Allahabad High Court judge justice Alok Kumar Singh had indicted former chief secretary Alok Ranjan, the then principal secretary (irrigation) Deepak Singhal and senior engineers associated with the project for irregularities.
Subsequently, on the findings of the judicial panel a committee headed by UP urban development minister Suresh Khanna had submitted an 11-page report to the UP CM recommending that the state government should lodge FIRs against the accused and hand over the case to CBI.
On June 19, FIRs were registered only against 8 engineers of the Irrigation Department. Those named in the FIR include, chief engineer Gulesh Yadav, the then chief engineer SN Sharma, chief engineer Kazim Ali, superintendent engineer Shiv Mangal Yadav, retired superintendent engineer Akhil Raman, the then superintendent engineer Kamleshwar Singh, executive engineers Roop Singh Yadav and Surendra Yadav.