Hostel scam dominates maiden meeting of ZP

Hostel scam dominates maiden meeting of ZP

Large-scale irregularities in purchase of beds reported

 The maiden meeting of the newly constituted Kolar zilla panchayat deliberated extensively on the irregularities in the hostels run by the Social Welfare department in the district.

Legislator Varthur Prakash, who raised the issue, said that the district had large number of students from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and it was lamentable that the hostels meant for poor students lack basic facilities. Officials and the contractors have been siphoning off the grants released by the government for the welfare of students, he said.

The MLA said that the officials of the department were creating fictitious bills for purchase of eggs and fruits, whereas the children at the hostels are being served substandard food. They have joined hands with contractors in looting public money.

However, the Joint Director of Social Welfare department, Dr Nagarajappa, said that the tendering process for supplies to hostels is conducted in Bengaluru and that he was no way concerned with the contractors.

Enraged by his reply, Prakash said that he very well knew who the contractor was. “I will expose you if you talk more. The tender for supply of food grains to hostels in the district has been awarded to NCCF and Krishna Traders. But, some people have illegally obtained the sub-contract and are providing supplies to the hostels. This sub-contractor is your relative,” the MLA told the officer.

Nagarajappa replied that it had become a routine to level allegations against officers in the district. He said that he was ready to face any punishment if the charges levelled by the MLA were established.

On verge of closure

Intervening in the discussion, another MLA S N Narayanaswamy said alleged large-scale irregularities in the hostels run by Social Welfare department. He said that children at the hostels were not being provided food even though it had been a month since they started functioning. 

“There is neither cooking gas nor vegetables. Because of this lacuna, students are not coming to hostels. Hostels are on the verge of closure due to lack of students,” the MLA added.

Students plight

He said that moved by the plight of students he had purchased 10 sacks of rice for some hostels and appealed the contractors not to make money by snatching the food of children.

“A kilo of ragi costs Rs 20 in the open market. Similarly, an egg is sold at Rs 5 and tur dal at Rs 200 per kilo. But, the contractor, in the tender document, claims to supply ragi and tur dal at Rs 13 and Rs 113 per kilo respectively and an egg at Rs 3. Is it possible to supply these items at the prices which are 50% less than their market prices,” he wanted to know.

Taluk Panchayat president M Anjinappa alleged large-scale irregularities in purchase of beds, bedsheets, mosquito curtains and utensils for hostels. Officials have released funds for fictitious bills and the items mentioned in the bills have not been purchased at all. He said the fraud came to light during his recent visit to the hostels in Begli Hosahalli and Kembodi.

DC visited hostels

Varthur Prakash, who intervened, said that the deputy commissioner too had visited the hostels and detected irregularities in the hostels. “But, he has no courage to take action against the persons involved. How much time do you need to initiate action against people involved in this scam,” he questioned.

Zilla Panchayat member Shaheed Ahmed said that while only three-four students stay at  the hostel in Andersonpet, the records maintained at the hostel put the number of students at 150.

Lok Sabha member K H Muniyappa suggested that Zilla Panchayat members, municipal president and legislators should regularly visit the hostels in their constituencies.
Meanwhile, Zilla Panchayat members R Narayanaswamy, Srinivas, Mahesh and Ashwini complained that the planning director was not considering their opinion while formulating action plan for development projects. They claimed that a proposal has been submitted to the government for developing such roads, the work on which has already been completed and bills paid. They demanded transfer of long-serving officials at the Zilla Panchayat.
Zilla Panchayat president Geetha, vice-president Yashoda, legislator G Manjunath, Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Trilok Chandra and others were present at the meeting.

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