| The truck seized from Silapathar. Picture by Mridupaban Chutia |
Dibrugarh, Dec. 27: Police in Dhemaji district today served a notice to the General Reserve and Engineering Force (GREF) under Section 91 CrPC for allegedly not co-operating with them after a truck loaded with bitumen for the ongoing construction of the Silapathar-Along Road was seized from Silapathar recently.
The officer-in-charge of Silapathar police station, Subhan Das, said over telephone the GREF officials had not been co-operating after the bitumen was seized along with the truck and its driver.
A police team led by Das had earlier raided the godown of a local contractor in Silapathar town and recovered 45 drums of bitumen loaded on a truck on Friday night. The driver, Kaliram Das, was arrested while his assistant fled.
“According to the driver and some sources, the bitumen was meant for road construction in the Likabali-Along sector. However, the bitumen was stolen by a racket and was transported to a local contractor in Silapathar,” the officer-in-charge said.
The police have also registered a case (No. 22/ 2010) at Silapathar police station under Section 380/411 IPC and started investigations.
“Since we required the details of stock and register for investigations as how the bitumen meant to be used by the GREF reached the godown of a local contractor, we had approached GREF officials at Likabali and also in Along in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the GREF officials did not cooperate, so we served the notice today,” Das said.
The notice served on GREF will enable the police to seek legal help if the organisation continues “with its non- cooperative attitude”.
A senior police official in Dhemaji said there are several allegations of irregularities in construction of roads by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and GREF, which is compounded with theft of construction materials by various organised criminal gangs.
“The rate specified by the state public works department (PWD) of construction of 1km of black-top road is Rs 2 crore. However, in case of the BRO, it is Rs 5 crore. The availability of more money has led to corruption,” the senior official said.
A local source said several road projects in Dhemaji district under various projects, including the Prime Minister’s Gramya Sadak Yogjna is being carried out with bitumen being purchased by local contractors from the black market which has severely affected quality of construction of most roads in Dhemaji district.
“The bitumen are sold by corrupt GREF officials along with a few greedy local contractors and suppliers,” the source said.
Various attempts to get a reaction from GREF officials failed as junior officers of the rank of assistant executive engineers declined to provide any information to the media saying they “were not authorised to speak”.
Asked for the numbers of their higher authorities or official spokesman, they said they “did not have any orders to do so”.