Heat on errant contractors


Siliguri, March 26: The caretaker administrator of the DGHC, B.L. Meena, said today the security deposits of the contractors who had left without completing their work would be confiscated.

Meena, who inspected some roads — the construction or repair of which had been abandoned midway — in the past two days, said the contractors had even received the payment in full against the work awarded to them. He added that the security deposits lying with the council would be encashed and the work completed.

The interim head of the hills said the aggregate amount of all the deposits was yet to be ascertained. A contractor, who was assigned the task of developing the Rohini-Kurseong road, had deposited Rs 62 lakh as security.

Meena, who is also the divisional commissioner of the Jalpaiguri division, ruled out the possibility of initiating any other punitive action against the errant contractors.

After a meeting with the officials and engineers of the public health engineering department, Meena said the auditors were calculating how much of the funds — sanctioned for water supply schemes — was left unutilised. The engineers have been instructed to make a list of incomplete schemes that would be executed on a priority basis.

The officials found that Rs 121 crore released for rural electrification was lying unused with the DGHC. Meena said work orders for electrification would be issued only after deciding on the amount each scheme needed.

While none of the contractors who had been awarded road projects could be contacted, Bengal urban development minister and Darjeeling district CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the interim dispensation in the hills. “Our apprehensions of misappropriation of funds by some people have been proved again.”

The minister said the state government was focussing on development in the fields of communication, water supply, education and rural electrification in the hills. He added that unlike in the past, the activities of the council should be transparent.

The divisional commissioner was tight-lipped when he was asked about the ongoing inquiry into the misplacement of files from the DGHC offices.

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