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AirTel money not used for repairs

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DQW Bureau
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Nothing is to be seen of the repair work carried out for a sum of Rs 59 lakh

that AirTel paid to the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) towards repair of

dug-up roads as part of its cabling process in the city.

Enquiries made by the Corporation's Council President from various wards on

the amount spent by them towards repair of roads in their areas have elicited no

answer from the Corporation. All that the Corporation said is that wherever the

roads were dug up in the city, repair work has been carried out and the roads

have been put back into shape again. However, no mention is ever made of the

amount spent ward-wise on this repair work.

The Congress members in the BMC Council are hesitant over answering

uncomfortable questions, while the BJP members are talking about lodging a

complaint with the Lokayukta over the alleged repair of roads without proper

procedure being followed. Meanwhile, the citizens of this city are having the

ride of their lives over the dug up - and potentially dangerous - condition of

the dug up roads across the city.

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AirTel and the BMC had arrived at an agreement on August 24, 2002, a part of

which was the repair of dug up roads because of cabling by AirTel by the Bhopal

Municipal Corporation from the sum paid to it by AirTel.

AirTel, on its part, made available specified sums of money to the BMC

towards the same. Till date, this sum is in excess of Rs 59, 44,000. However, in

many areas of the city, roads have been lying dug up for the past two-odd years

without being repaired! Sources now say that many Zonal officials in the BMC

have incorporated the said sums paid by AirTel as part of the revenue earned by

the corporation to show an inflated revenue earning, in the process putting a

question mark over the whole process of accounting in the corporation and

bypassing of laid-down procedures. This could be one reason why the actual

amount paid by AirTel to the various wards of the BMC could not be known.

It was not until matters took a turn for the worse that the whole murky

affair was looked into and the actual monies paid by AirTel determined.

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In the process, road repair work was undertaken in several wards, but due to

the carelessness of the Public Works Department of the BMC, how much money was

spent under which head still remains a mystery. In many places, money was shown

as spent in road repair work, while the roads lay in the same condition as they

were when they were dug up. How and where was the money spent, then? All this

has given rise to the basic question that if the money was received by AirTel to

the BMC, then where and under which head was it spent? Why is it that feet are

being dragged in making available the necessary information by the concerned

departments? Forget the Council members, even the Council President Sunil Sood

has had to face blank faces in his investigation into the matter.

Sood had earlier asked for information in this regard ward-wise during a

Council meeting of the corporation, but nobody took these instructions

seriously. When he asked for an answer from the concerned member all he got in

return was a four-line reply from the department. It said that the amount made

available for the repair of roads has been spent, as per information made

available by a Giri of the said department. Where the work was carried out,

where the amount was spent and how, no one seems to have a clue. Efforts seem to

underway now to brush the entire sordid episode under a convenient carpet.

The matter has come to such a head that while concerned citizens are

approaching the Human Rights Commission, the BJP members are approaching the

Lokayukta for redressal and booking the culprits. The residents of Idgah Hills

have already submitted memorandum to the Human Rights Commission. Here, roads in

the entire area, including Judge Colony, Prince Colony and Ram Nagar are in very

bad shape. Similarly, the roads in the Kotra Sultanabad area from Kamla Nagar

Police Station to the Vaishali crossing have been lying dug up for the past two

years without anyone taking any action against the offending department and when

the money in question has already been paid and 'spent' on the repair work! The 

situation is more or less the same in other parts of the city as well.

The Department in-charge, Mohammad Shamim said that the money for the repair

work has been spent according to budget and that the remaining roads shall be

repaired soon enough. He is of the opinion that there is no question of any

hanky-panky in the entire affair.

Aditya Malaviya


(CNS)

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