Devotees gather at the Har-ki-Pauri Ganga ghat in Haridwar(REUTERS)
Devotees gather at the Har-ki-Pauri Ganga ghat in Haridwar(REUTERS)

Uttarakhand Congress alleges corruption, mismanagement in Mahakumbh

  • Congress MLA Pritam objected to the curtailing of Haridwar Maha Kumbh to one month on the pretext of Coronavirus pandemic.
By Kalyan Das | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 08:24 AM IST

The sixth day of the ongoing budget session of Uttarakhand assembly witnessed a heated debate, with the Opposition Congress alleging corruption and mismanagement in several projects including the upcoming Haridwar Mahakumbh.

Led by the Leader of Opposition (LoP), Indira Hridayesh, the opposition moved an adjournment motion in the House over alleged corruption in NH-74 case, high court’s old order to probe corruption allegations against chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, alleged corruption in the state labour board and others, demanding a debate on the same.

"The government talks of zero tolerance towards corruption but the reality is totally different as there is rampant corruption in the state under this government," said Congress MLA Pritam Singh. "The multi-crore NH-74 scam, state labour board scam and SC-ST scholarship scam, all prove rampant corruption in the state but the government is not ready to accept and makes false claims of zero tolerance to corruption," he continued. He also claimed that the government didn’t appoint a Lokpal despite a promise by the CM in 2017.

Parliamentary affairs minister Madan Kaushik said the debate sought in the adjournment motion couldn’t be allowed as the cases mentioned in the motion were sub-judice and under probe.

Later, Congress MLA Pritam objected to the curtailing of Haridwar Maha Kumbh to one month on the pretext of Coronavirus pandemic, while the opposition benches alleged "mismanagement and irregularities" in the organisation of the mega religious event. Pritam claimed that no one knew how much money has been spent so far as the event was limited only to Har Ki Pauri ghat of Haridwar this time .

In response, minister Kaushik said the issue couldn’t be discussed in the house. "The Mahakumbh issue can't be discussed in the House as the High Court on Friday constituted a committee to monitor the works being done in Mahakumbh," he said.

Congress MLA Nizamuddin responded by asking Madan Kaushik: "If the issue of Haridwar Mahakumbh can't be discussed in this state assembly then where will it be discussed?" Amid the heated argument, the Speaker of the assembly didn't allow the issue to be taken up.

Later during the day, Nizamuddin raised the issue of the 108 emergency ambulance service in the state, alleging the ambulances were not reaching the spot in time.

Kaushik responded by saying that at present, the state had 140 ambulances operating under the service, while 132 more ambulances were ordered for the purpose including the 71 that had arrived. He said the response time of ambulances will also improve gradually.

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"Their response time in urban areas is 13 minutes 57 seconds while in rural areas it is 23 minutes 36 seconds. As more ambulances are added in the fleet, the response time will improve."

The minister also promised a probe into BJP’s Kiccha MLA, Rajesh Shukla’s allegation that he was not allowed in a meeting of zila panchayat in his area by the representative of Panchayati Raj minister Arvind Pandey.

Earlier during the day, Opposition MLAs brought ‘ganga jal’ to their sit-in protest at the entrance of the House, alleging mismanagement in the Haridwar Mahakumbh. The government said that the opposition had run out of ideas.

"The Mahakumbh has been curtailed due to the pandemic but the allegation of mismanagement is baseless. Congress has no issues to raise, hence they are doing this," minister Madan Kaushik said.

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