From a Correspondent
JORHAT, March 30: Crrupt officials of the PHED (Public Health Engineering Department) in a collective nexus with favoured contractors enlisted under the PHED Jorhat have allegedly siphoned off crores of rupees in the last 4-5 years through a meticulous planning of releasing funds against maintence works of already running water distribution projects but shown as malfunctioning in government files in a bid to pave way for additiol funds under the defunct category so as to facilitate easy pocketing by these unscrupulous officers who have also additiolly fooled the people of certain areas residing close to the Bhogdoi river in the me of arsenic content and thus creating end number of proposals to build intake water systems in the entire downstream of the river, thus misusing government money for persol benefit.
This important disclosure came to light following the release of Rs 47.23 lakh by the PHE Department under the defunct category in the just concluded bill/cheque disbursal of the March fincial year transactions of 2015. Notably the projects for which the defunct money has been released are the Duligaon Duliapaam of Garmur, Kareng Chapori, Hezari Gaon, o-Folia, Robi Boi and Jelengi Tuk of Jorhat. It must be mentioned here that on March 4, 2015, the pump operator of the Duligaon Duliapaam water distribution scheme informed about an uninterrupted supply of water pumped from the Bhogdoi river to about 250 houses of the Garmur area. Despite minor technical sgs, the project was as such not in need of any serious construction. The entire project was commissioned at a total value of Rs 68 lakh which also included the construction of an intake facility to provide arsenic water as proposed by the SDO (Sub Divisiol Officer) in government files. But soon the intake became non-functiol and the need for another intake facility a few kilometers away close to the Bhogdoi Bridge was felt.
Talking to The Sentinel, Executive Engineer, Hema Jyoti Bharali said, “It has been only five months since I joined as Executive Engineer in Jorhat and I still have to come to terms with so many projects of the district. In regard to the release of funds under the defunct category and in context to the Duligaon Duliapaam project, the files indicate that the water had traces of arsenic level which is at a permissible limit. But the department had to take care of the arsenic content from rising and hence the first intake was constructed but unluckily within the first year of commissioning the river changed a minor course and instead of water, the river started depositing silt. Thereafter, on the basis of a second proposal the second intake system is now being constructed to collect water and filter its arsenic content at the main pumping station at Duliapaam and then distribute it to the residents. We also aim to provide a part of the refined water to the JEC (Jorhat Engineering) Campus. So far Rs 13 lakh has been released as running bill against the second intake construction. For more technical details, SDO Bijit Dutta would be the best person.”
Earlier trying to get answers from the SDO of the Jorhat PHED Bijit Dutta went in vain as the SDO said, “I cannot answer your queries regarding the ongoing schemes of the PHE Department. You will need to talk to our Executive Engineer who is the only person to speak on the matter.”
Despite reiterating that the Executive Engineer had asked to contact the SDO for further details, still the officer refrained from providing details of the projects, plan and estimate, funds sanctioned and funds released.
The river Bhogdoi has already dried up in many areas of Jorhat where Public Health Engineering Department schemes are being implemented. People are speculating whether the PHED relies on rain water and flood for the river to fill up to sustain water to the intake systems and has demanded a detailed report on the money spent in the me of these useless proposals. Every answer of the SDO is based on egoistic eccentricity and questions are being raised whether the SDO has any credibility or just keeps proposing failed schemes!
Also there is allegation against the SO (Section Officer) of the department who has not been transferred once in the last decade and is believed to be the main mastermind behind all the plan proposals, site inspection and submission of verification report of these schemes which ensures free flow of funds to all running and defunct scheme.