SAD leader raises charges of embezzlement against Batala Municipal

  • Vishal Sally, Hindustan Times, Batala
  • Updated: Feb 01, 2015 20:53 IST

“Out of 330 employees enrolled by a private contractor on various sanitation jobs, 115 are fake,” claimed Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, SAD leader and Batala Halqa in charge.

“As per the rules, all employees enrolled with the sanitation department must have a bank, Provident Fund and an ESI accounts, in which their salaries are disbursed. But more than 115 employees enrolled with the department don’t have a bank account and their salaries have been embezzled by the private contractor and council employees,” claimed Lodhinangal.

Lodhinangal raised a banner of revolt against the municipal council a few days after demanding 26 seats for SAD candidates in the forthcoming council elections. He blamed the council authorities of deteriorating sanitation condition of the town.

Taking to Hindustan Times, Lodhinagal said: “The council has given around Rs 2.25 crore to the private contractor for maintaining sanitary condition in the town, however, it has been deteriorating with every passing day.”

Apart from this, said Lodhinagal, the condition of street lights is grim oo. “After receiving complaints from the locals, I took a round of the city and was astonished to see almost 70% of the street light points closed.”

Slapping the charges of corruption on the council, he alleged that in spite of improving condition of the roads, the council authorities were spending all funds on painting footpaths and electricity poles and “embezzling the funds” sanctioned by the state government for the development works.

A few days back, he said, he had objected to the “loot” by the council employees and asked the council authorities to invite tenders for bringing transparency. “But my objections were completely ignored by the executive officer,” he claimed.

Raising a question mark on the appointment of executive officer Bhupinder Singh, he said the executive officer was transferred from Tarn Taran as a superintendent on the recommendations of a BJP leader. Even as he was yet to complete his probation period, he had been given the charge of executive officer and DD powers under pressure of some of the BJP leaders, he alleged.

He alleged that the council authorities in connivance with some private contractors were trying to embezzle `1 crore sanctioned by the state government for the development works.

“I am going to Chandigarh to appraise Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of the entire matter. I will also seek strict action against the officers misappropriating public funds,” he said.

Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM)-cum-administrator Jagwinderjeet Singh Grewal was not available for a comment.

In the meantime, the executive officer confirmed that as many as 115 employees enrolled with the sanitation department did not have a bank account. He said he had asked the private contactor for the opening their bank accounts.

When questioned about the objections raised by Lodhinangal, he said Lodhinagal had never sought written information from him. “I’m ready to give details if anybody seeks,” she added.

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