Silt scam to be dug deep

Chief minister orders inquiry by Development Commissioner

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Thursday ordered an inquiry by Development Commissioner Kaushik Mukherjee into the alleged irregularities in implementing the stormwater drain de-silting project in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits in the last three years.

A comprehensive probe will be conducted into the malfeasance and stringent action will be taken against all those guilty, he said in reply to a question raised by M Srinivas in the Legislative Council.

Earlier, Srinivas said the BBMP had claimed to have removed about 1.40 lakh truckloads of silt from both major stormwater drains and shoulder drains in the last three years. The BBMP had paid Rs 44.33 crore for this purpose.

“Is there any proof to show that such a huge quantity of silt has been removed? Where is the silt dumped? If the contractors have really dumped it somewhere, there should have been a mountain of silt by now,” he stated.

As per the rules, the contractor should videograph the entire de-silting operation and present it to the BBMP while claiming the money. But there is no proof available with the BBMP. The local body has sanctioned the money without ascertaining whether drains have been desilted or not, he alleged.

Nexus alleged

Srinivas further alleged that not even 30 per cent of the silt was removed. The nexus between the contractor and the guilty officials would have been exposed had it rained properly in the last few days. Due to lack of rainfall, the real picture has not come out, he alleged.

Though a written answer on the total money spent and amount of silt removed was furnished to the House, it did not say where exactly the silt had been dumped. The particular column, ‘place of dumping,’ has been left empty in the reply.

Senior JD(S) leader M C Nanaiah said the BBMP had become a hotbed of corruption. Though taxpayers’ money was being misused, the government had turned a blind eye, he charged.

Nayandahalli junction

The chief minister said he had directed the officials of both BDA and BMRCL to complete the infrastructure projects at the Nayandahalli junction in a time-bound manner.

“I am aware of the hardship motorists face at the junction. I have directed the officials to take necessary steps to ensure smooth flow of traffic,” he added. Capt Ganesh Karnik had raised the issue.

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