By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Oct 9: Claiming large-scale corruption in the Assam State Transport Corporation, the State Transport Workers' Association today demanded a CBI investigation to unearth the irregularities plaguing the state-run transport body.
The association's general secretary Khurshid Alom said the corporation has "become a den of corruption" as a result of which it has failed to provide even the basic transport facilities to the public.
"The ASTC owns around 1,300 buses, but only 550 are on the roads as on September. Where are the other buses? Why hasn't the corporation taken any measure to operate the other buses," he told a press conference.
He said that from 2006-07 to 2015-16, the ASTC was given funds to the tune of over Rs 32,778.82 lakh under the Plan head. "But nobody knows how the funds were spent. Have they contributed to the betterment of the organization?" he questioned.
Stating that the ASTC do not even contribute 30 per cent of the State's transport system, he demanded a probe into the utilization of the sanctioned funds in the last ten years.
Alom said workers, officers and even the former maging director Khagendrath Chetia should be brought under the ambit of the probe if any leads are found regarding their involvement in irregularities.
He also smelt a rat in the process of auctioning of the used buses and alleged that a section of employees and officials with vested interests had a "hidden agenda" to cripple the corporation.
Highlighting the plight of the employees of the corporation, Alom said they are not being paid 33 per cent dearness allowance. "The corporation has not deposited PF amounts since the last eleven months now. Around 400 retired employees are yet to get their dues," he said, adding that Transport minister Ajit Singh has never visited the ASTC headquarters at Paltan Bazar in the city.
Pointing to another "conspiracy", he said M/S Ghosh Brothers Motors Pvt Ltd, which has taken the Yatri NIwas on lease, had to pay Rs 6.30 crore to the corporation as rent for the years 2011-2015. But the firm has only paid Rs 93 lakh to the corporation so far.