SHILLONG: Opposition Congress legislator from Rangsakona, Zenith M Sangma on Wednesday alleged rampant corruption in the Power department.
Addressing the media on Wednesday at the Congress Bhavan here, Sangma alleged that there are anomalies in the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded smart meter system for consumers in Meghalaya, the Ganol Small Hydel Power Project, the Saubhagya Scheme, the DeenDayalUpadhyayGraminJyotiYojana Phase-I and Phase-II as well as in the waiver of electricity bills for industries. The Congress MLA pointed out that in the tendering process for the ADB-funded smart meter system such conditions were put in place that that only one bidder will qualify.
According to Sangma, the contractor would have to execute work worth Rs 200 crore. "But not surprisingly, the estimated cost was enhanced by 18 per cent, which comes to Rs 36 crore," pointed put the Congress legislator, adding, "There was no competition in the tendering process. Only one bidder of their choice could be qualified is a scam.
"The tendering process should be done in a fair manner where lots of companies, suppliers would be able to participate in a competitive manner. In such a move, the question of enhancing the original estimated cost by Rs. 36 crore would not have been there. This money is drained out for the purpose to fulfill the greed of a few," he alleged.
Sangma also pointed out that in the execution of the phase-I and phase-II of the 'DeenDayalUpadhyayGraminJyotiYojana', the 'Letter of Association' has been revised by increasing the scope of work without approval of the funding agency – the 'Rural Electrification Corporation'.
He further alleged that the government has agreed to increase around Rs 30 crore for extra work. Sangma said that since this is the a Government of India scheme, 85 per cent is funded by the Centre and 15 per cent (amounting to Rs. 4.5 crore) by the State government.
He also pointed out that in the Ganol Small Hydro Project, the cost has been escalated by Rs 151 crore through revision of estimates. Sangma further said that when asked, the government replied that the revision was done due to "geological surprise".
"Didn't the MeECL carry out soil testing before submitting the DPR (Detailed Project Report)? They said they missed out. How is this possible? The level of work where geological surprise could occur is already crossed. The construction of tunnel is over, construction under surface is over, only the super structure is left; so, how is there any geological surprise?" posed Sangma.
The Congress legislator also said that in the in the tendering process of the 'Saubhagya' scheme meant for the construction of infrastructure, two companies were awarded the work; and around 100 local contractors were given work to carry out other smaller works. He further alleged that for the infrastructural component, while work has been awarded to two large companies from outside the State at 51 per cent above the scheduled rate, for 100 local contractors, work has been awarded at par with the schedule of rate of the same year for all components of work. "In the process, extra amount of Rs. 180 crore is required," said Sangma.
The Congress MLA also alleged that the onetime settlement scheme announced by the State government is for the benefit of the industries. "The industries consume around 52 per cent; and if 30 per cent of the power bill is waived off (from them), the State will lose around Rs 700 crore," he added. However, Sangma added that if the Power bills are waived off with respect to the domestic consumers then the Congress is not against the move.