Congress tea tribe members allege Rs 300-crore embezzlement, seek CBI probe
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 3: Tea tribe members from the Congress have alleged misuse of funds meant for welfare of the community in the State and have sought a probe by a central agency into the scandal.
Nearly Rs 300 crore was released by the Assam government for welfare of tea tribes in the State in the last six/seven years. The funds were released to the Directorate of Tea Tribe Welfare which is under the Labour and Employment department.
Assam Tea Tribes Adivasi Vikash Samiti president Bhagirath Karan, who is also the former chairman of the Pradesh Congress tea cell, today claimed that despite the funds being made available, nothing has been done for the welfare of the tea tribes in the State.
“They (directorate) have shown that the funds were used for providing power tillers, single meters, sanitation facilities, hostels etc, but when we tried to cross-check, we found that the ground realities were different,” Karan said.
According to Karan, the directorate had claimed to have constructed two hostels in Guwahati, but his organization could not locate them in the city.
“They have also claimed that Rs 40 crore was utilized for providing single meters to the 4.5 lakh households. But in reality, only about 3000 to 4000 families got these meters,” he said.
A delegation of the Samiti has met the Chief Minister apprising him of the “irregularities”. “We have sought a CBI probe into the matter,” he said.
While the tea tribes are a traditiol vote bank of the Congress, Karan felt that in the last Lok Sabha elections, the party lost the support of the community due to lack of welfare initiatives meant for the community. “Virtually nothing has been done for the welfare of the community despite availability of funds. This is the reason why the Congress did not get their support,” he said, suspecting a nexus between ministers, officials of the directorate and contractors.
The Chief Minister is learnt to have assured an inquiry into the matter.