Uttarakhand: Irregularities in Mahakumbh food bills, transport corp orders probe

Published on Jul 05, 2022 08:25 PM IST
The Uttarakhand Transport Corporation has found major differences in the exact number of employees present during the Mahakumbh and those furnished in the payment bills
While 383 personnel used the eatery service at a temporary bus station during the Mahakumbh, the eatery bill showed bills of 1,164 personnel. (File Photo)
While 383 personnel used the eatery service at a temporary bus station during the Mahakumbh, the eatery bill showed bills of 1,164 personnel. (File Photo)

The Uttarakhand Transport Corporation has ordered a probe after finding irregularities in the food bills of bus drivers and conductors at a temporary bus station set up during the Mahakumbh, officials said on Tuesday.

The managing director of the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, Rohit Meena has taken cognizance of the matter directing subordinate officials to look into the matter.

“Some irregularities regarding payment of bills have come to light at Pantdeep parking lot during Mahakumbh. A probe is going on and as per the findings due action will be taken,” said general manager, Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, Deepak Jain.

A scrutiny of the food payment bills of drivers and conductors showed major differences in the exact number of employees present during the duty and those furnished in the payment bills.

A local contractor was awarded a seven days’ contract for an eatery from April 9 to April 16 for Pantdeep Mahakumbh temporary parking lot of the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation. While 383 drivers, conductors and other personnel used the eatery service, the eatery bill showed bills of 1,164 personnel. Later a payment was done for 1,164 people for an amount of 1.09 lakh.

During the four-month Mahakumbh from January to April, 2021, the Covid-19 second wave was at its peak and the state government curtailed the fair to one month. The fair was called off by Akhadas on the plea of Prime minister Narendra Modi after Baisakhi Shahi Snaan (royal bath). So, the eatery service was also reduced to one week for two Shahi Snan, falling between April 9 and April 16, with Somvati Amavasya held on April 12 and Baisakhi on April 14.

Earlier, a fake Covid testing scam surfaced during the Mahakumbh in May 2021 after a Faridkot resident complained to the authorities that he received a message for collecting his Covid test report although he never got himself tested.

Later, the probe unearthed 1 lakh fake Covid-19 tests by contractual firms Max Corporate Services and Dr Lal Chandwani and Nalwa Laboratories.

Real-time data checking through the portal of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) further revealed fake entries on the basis of mobile numbers and addresses of people who never actually tested during the Mahakumbh.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed by the police and a chief development officer (CDO)-led three-member panel was also separately formed by the district magistrate to probe the testing scam.

The SIT probe is still going on with a couple of arrests made while the CDO-led committee submitted its report last year to the state government.

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