By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, August 12: Assam Irrigation Minister Ranjit Dutta has told the State Assembly that the Irrigation Department under the present dispensation at Dispur has to bear the brunt of the scams that were committed during the Congress regime. The extent of corruption, according to Dutta, was so rampant that irrigation schemes were implemented even at places where there are no sources of water.
The corruption involving irrigation schemes in the State came up for discussion in the House today when MLA Anwar Hussain Lashkar raised a question on it. Hussain said that as many as three Irrigation officers had to be dismissed from jobs following large-scale scams in the department in the Barak Valley. However, Hussain said, the erring contractors were still moving scot-free. The MLA made mention of Bondukmari F.I.S. implemented in 2013-14. He said that the department is plagued by corruption.
Ramendra rayan Kalita of the AGP was very vocal against corruption in the Irrigation Department. He said that the Rs 25-crore Kopili Irrigation Project implemented in the Rani area failed to benefit a single farmer. “The entire amount involved in the scheme was swindled. This is nothing but wastage of money,” he said, and demanded an inquiry into the scam.
It is noteworthy that The Sentinel did report the rampant anomalies in the Kopili Irrigation Project in the Rani area earlier many a time, but no inquiry was ordered by the Congress government into it. Replying to the query, the minister said: “I’ll visit the Barak Valley and the Rani area, taking the MLAs concerned along with me, to see the irrigation projects on the spot. The corruption took place during the Congress regime. Under the BJP-led government at Dispur, no new irrigation scheme has been approved as yet. I myself visited Kamalpur LAC to see the anomalies in an irrigation project there. I’ve seen there were massive anomalies. An FIR has been filed against the contractors. I’ll visit Barak Valley and Rani after August 20, taking the respective MLAs along with me.”