KOKRAJHAR: The budget of BTC amounting to Rs. 2133 crore for the financial year 2023-24 tabled by CEM Pramod Boro was passed in the council assembly session on Wednesday without much debate on it. However, the opposition members raised questions on the utilization of money earmarked in the budget of 2022-23 saying that physical development was invisible in most of the departments of BTC.
Speaking on the budget from the opposition bench, MCLA Doneswar Goyary said he was the chairman of the house committee of BTCLA and they used to visit various project sites to oversee the implementation of schemes undertaken during the last year’s budget but found that most of the schemes were not visible. He alleged that the officers of the departments concerned showed them the old schemes which were implemented by the previous government. He questioned as to where the money of the financial year 2022-23 for the developmental schemes had gone. He also said crores of rupees were spent for PHE to provide drinking water to people but most of the drinking water projects are not functional and lying useless.
Goyary said preparing of budget was not a big thing but focus should be given on the proper implementation of schemes. He alleged that they saw severe anomalies in the construction of PMAY houses. He alleged that the contractors used 8-inch iron rods in place of 12 inch and room-size had been reduced to 16 by 18 feet in place of 18 by 20 feet earlier. He also said that earlier the brick wall was 5 inches but now it is 3 inches. He further reiterated that the only three iron rods were used in place of earlier four rods.
Replying to his questions, deputy chief Gabinda Chandra Basumatary, who is looking after the P&RD, said they had not violated the guidelines of construction of PMAY houses and work was going on smoothly. He said since it was a national project, no one can alter the guidelines. He also said that the cost of materials was increasing day-by-day for which the contractors were compelled to use 10-inch iron in place of 12 inch to meet the crisis but the guidelines had been followed in a strict manner.
MCLA Mantu Boro said there had been construction of three roads undertaken during the financial year 2017-18 in Koklabari area at an amount of Rs 32 crore, Rs 22 crore and Rs 15 crore respectively but the works were not completed and allotment of works had been cancelled in 2020. He questioned what action has been taken by the present government to complete the road projects. In his reply, CEM Pramod Boro, who is the in-charge of PWD, said there were many such half-done schemes taken up by the previous government and such projects had no certainty to be completed, for which the present government had cancelled the work allotment for inviting fresh tender for public interest. He also said there had been massive anomalies in various sectors for which they are facing Rs 2,900 crore liabilities of the previous government.
MCLA Presh Basumatary said the infrastructure developments taken up during last year’s budget was not visible and thus questions arose as to where the money had gone. He said, “We are talking much but working less.” He also said that blaming and mudslinging over development would not yield a positive result and thus, he called upon all, including those in position to stop the blame game and to work with collective responsibility by taking the opposition into confidence.