Equipments procured at inflated prices, schemes languishing on ground: AGP
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, March 24: Alleged large-scale corruption in Centrally funded sanitation schemes in the State today triggered an uproar in the State Assembly, with Opposition legislators demanding a high-level inquiry into the execution of the Low Cost Sanitation and tiol Drinking Water Programme schemes.
AGP legislator Phani Bhusan Choudhury said that in both the schemes, thrust was being given to purchase equipments rather than executing the schemes on the ground.
“Godowns in the districts are crammed with equipments like pipes and water filters. But these are not being taken to the ground,” Choudhury said. In both the schemes, the equipments are purchased centrally.
Citing a report, the AGP legislator said the fincial progress of the tiol Drinking Water Programme is 80.7 per cent, whereas, the physical progress of the scheme is only between 22-35 per cent.
“According to a Government of India report, 30 per cent households in the State still do not have drinking water facility,” he pointed out.
Choudhury further claimed that the government spends Rs 1,700 for purchasing equipments for a single unit under the Low Cost Sanitation scheme. “However, those equipments cost only around Rs 500. Why is the government spending more than three times the actual price…Who is benefiting from it?” he questioned.
Elaborating on the poor progress of the scheme, the AGP legislator said 61.3 of the households in Barpeta, 71.3 per cent households in Chirang and 70.8 per cent households in Kokrajhar still do not have sanitation facilities.
Responding to the charges of corruption, PHE minister Sukur Ali said the government will take action, if there is any specific instance of corruption or irregularity.
He also informed that the per unit sanctioned fund under the Low Cost Sanitation programme has now been enhanced to Rs 12,000 by the Central government. “Besides BPL households, the scheme will now encompass APL households, SC/ST families, small and margil farmers and women-headed families,” he said. The minister informed that there are 27.62 lakh households still to be covered under the scheme. “In the fincial year 2015-16, the department has set a target to complete 6.11 lakh households,” he added.