'Honest' UP official loses battle to angry minister

'Honest' UP official loses battle to angry minister

Akhilesh gives in, municipal worker gets transfer

 An ‘honest’ and ‘upright’ Uttar Pradesh official paid the price for taking on a powerful Muslim leader and senior minister Azam Khan.

Apparently wary of a Muslim backlash, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav gave in to Khan’s demand for shunting the official from his department .

Lucknow municipal commissioner N P Singh, who had cracked down hard on the corrupt elements within his department and made life difficult for the unscrupulous contractors, was transfered and put on waiting list.

Singh had earned the wrath of the urban development minister Azam Khan after the official had ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities into several civic projects undertaken by the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and had refused to release further funds to it pending the probe.

Singh had earned praise of the common man by acting against illegal advertisement agencies and corrupt contractors by ordering an audit of their work. He also drew praise for getting a road constructed in a slum area for a paltry sum of Rs 60,000.

He had also been able to get a contractor ready to construct a road for Rs 23 lakh though the earlier estimate for the same job was Rs 59 lakh, after assuring him that he would not have to pay commission to any one.

Khan, a senior minister, had been so irked by Singh’s actions that he had declared publicly about a fortnight back that he would be suspended. The minister had expressed his serious displeasure over the delay in the execution of his order. Akhilesh Yadav reportedly was not in favor of punishing Singh.

Khan had however made it a prestige issue and had not even been attending office for the past few days.

On Sunday night, the transfer order for Singh finally came. Though he was not suspended he was put on waiting list.

Akhilesh, apparently wary of a possible Muslim backlash, went over to Khan’s house and closeted him for about a hour a few days back in a bid to placate the ‘outspoken’ SP leader, whose outbursts had embarrassment the government on many occasions.

The corporation officials feel that Singh’s transfer would affect the morale of honest officers.

“No one will now dare oppose the wrong doings, Singh’s transfer certainly makes us suspect the government’s repeated assertions that it was committed to fight corruption,” quipped an official.

Dues to be cleared

CM Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said the dues of milk producers pending through societies would be cleared by the state government, reports PTI from Lucknow.

“Dues of Rs 55 crore of milk producers pending through milk societies will be cleared by the government,” he said, after laying foundation stone of a dairy plant which can processing five lakh litres of milk per day. “I am confident that if producers get right price and timely payments, their interest in this sector will increase,” he added.

Agriculture production commissioner Alok Ranjan said while two lakh litres milk would be packed at the plant, another three lakh litres would be processed to manufacture 30 MT powder.