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.
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.
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.