The corruption ridden Patiala Improvement Trust has hit a new low. An inquiry panel headed by chief engineer, local government department, has detected financial irregularities worth nearly Rs 13 lakh in the road works allotted by Patiala Improvement Trust last year.
The inquiry revealed that the work shown as executed in official documents was never found to be done on ground. Surprisingly, the payment was also released to the contractor for the 'bogus' work.
The matter pertained to re-carpeting of two roads in the city from Patiala bus stand to Gurbax Nagar and Rajindra Hospital to Bandughar. Along with the re-carpeting, the contractor was supposed to install road rumbles on both sides of these two road stretches for the safety precautions of the city residents. The budget of this component varied for Rs 12-13 lakh.
After the re-carpeting, however, the road rumbles did not come up, even as the entire payment was released to the contractor. Confirming it, Manmohan Singh, chief engineer, said their inquiry established that the work regarding road rumbles was not executed even as it was shown as completed in records and payment was also released. "We have submitted the report to the senior officials for the appropriate action," he said.
Sources said the report was under consideration of local bodies minister Anil Joshi and appropriate action against several supervisory officials was expected. The whereabouts of the contractor, however, could not be known. The work, it is learnt, was allotted during the tenure of previous executive officer, Gurinder Singh Sodhi, who was recently replaced by Raj Kumar Kapoor.
How the matter came in to light?
The matter came into light when the DC office received a letter last month by two complainants, including Amar Singh and Kishori Lal, spilling the beans over these irregularities. Following this, a probe was initiated under Manmohan Singh who also visited the site about two weeks ago and checked official documents here.
Other irregularities found in the inquiry
Inquiry panel also found several other irregularities in quality of the re-carpeting work, especially relating to earth filling work and other components. Sources said the panel also probed the construction of several shops recently and also found that steel work used was of inferior quality and cost was deliberately escalated.
Past crisis in Patiala Improvement Trust
-Nearly two years ago, Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi suspended six officials of the Improvement Trust, including the then executive officer (EO) and the town planner for dereliction of duty. The action was taken after they were found prima facie guilty of causing a huge loss to the government exchequer by not implementing an extension scheme in time and letting the seven acres of prime land remain with private parties.
-Financial crunch loomed large last year, when it failed to pay pending income tax worth Rs 12.5 crore.