No work done in Kalyana Karnataka, govt to probe

Public funds running into several crores may have been siphoned off in the name of development works in the Kalyana Karnataka region.

A taluk-level sports stadium in the Afzalpur town of Kalaburagi needs a new compound wall and a shelter at its sitting gallery. The project, costing about Rs 4 crore, was sanctioned in 2015. 

Four years on, the work is ‘under progress’.   

Another example: A community toilet for ladies was sanctioned four years ago at Venkatapura village in Chincholi. This, too, is ‘under progress’ even after four years.

In the first case, it was only recently that the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region Development Board (HKRDB) ascertained the ground reality: there was no work happening at all. And no surprises in the second case as well: there was no work taking place.

These two examples are just some of the instances of irregularities in development works in the Kalyana Karnataka region comprising Kalaburagi, Bidar, Ballari, Koppal, Raichur and Yadgir.

An internal scrutiny has now revealed that works were falsely shown as ‘under progress’ or ‘completed’ on the HKRDB’s online dashboard even though there was nothing on the ground to support that claim. 

Since 2013, the state government has pumped in Rs 7,274 crore towards development of the region, which enjoys special status under the Constitution (Article 371J). 

It is suspected that public funds running into several crores may have been siphoned off. 

“At the beginning of the 2019-20 financial year, we decided to check on works that were shown in our software as ‘ongoing’ and we started with the Kalaburagi district. Out of 670 works that were shown as in progress, we found about 370 of them had had no progress at all,” Kalaburagi regional commissioner and HKRDB secretary Subodh Yadav told DH.

“We did a similar exercise in the other districts of the region and found that the situation was, more or less, the same,” Subodh Yadav said.

The trigger for the checks, Yadav pointed out, was that works sanctioned some five years ago were still ‘under progress’, and these included small ones worth Rs 10-15 lakh that should not have taken more than five-six months to finish.

Yadav has issued a circular highlighting the irregularities between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

He has directed the deputy commissioners and the chief executive officers of the Zilla Panchayats in Kalaburagi, Bidar, Ballari, Koppal, Raichur and Yadgir districts to dig deep and verify data in the software till June 30, 2019 to identify works that have not started, but have been shown as underway, and take action.

Most of the irregularities were found with works assigned to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Corporation (KRIDL), which was known as the Land Army Corporation in its earlier avatar.

The KRIDL agency has gained notoriety over the years for the shoddy implementation of the projects in the region.

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