In reaction to the charges of irregularities and underhand cash received in connection with the auctioning of MC land, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora on Tuesday questioned the state government’s decision to promote an official as the municipal town planner (MTP) in 2012, which, he said, was against the norms, and sought a probe into the matter.
The charges were levelled against the mayor by Des Raj, the suspended municipal town planning department official.
Arora also claimed to have issued a legal notice to the municipal town planner, suspended by local bodies minister Anil Joshi last year on the basis of corruption charges against him, for levelling allegations against him.
Des Raj had earlier demanded a probe into the auction of land by MC. He had charged the mayor with pocketing Rs. 50 lakh in the deal, which was returned on the intervention of Joshi.
Claiming that Des Raj started his career with the Amritsar Municipal Corporation as a ‘labourer’ in 1987, Arora said he was elevated to the post of MTP in 2012.
“His elevation to the post was against the norms. The government should order a probe into the matter to ascertain the facts behind his elevation as MTP,” he said.
The mayor also alleged lack of government funding to undertake development works in the city, which he said, was a major bottleneck in providing much-needed civic amenities to the residents.
“Since the present MC began its tenure, there has been no funding from the government to undertake various projects. The MC has no
choice but to raise its own resources which definitely a is challenging job,” he said.
When contacted, Des Raj said his promotion was in accordance with the norms and the seniority list prepared by the government. “The present government elevated me to the post of MTP in accordance with my seniority. I have done civil engineering, started as a supervisor and became a ‘work mistri’ and later section officer. In 1995, I was sent to the building department as an inspector-cum-section officer. I never got any out of turn or undeserved promotion,” he said.
He said there were a few officials in the MTP department, who were supported by the mayor, and had been granted key posts despite the fact that they lacked the required qualifications.
“Let the mayor go ahead with the probe. He has also demanded a probe into my assets which have already been probed twice by the Vigilance Bureau,” he said.
“His elevation to the post was against the norms. The government should order a probe into the matter to ascertain the facts behind his elevation as MTP.”
Bakshi Ram Arora, Amritsar mayor
“Let the mayor go ahead with the probe. He has also demanded a probe into my assets which have already been probed twice by the Vigilance Bureau.”
Des Raj, suspended municipal town planner