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On fast track for dam probe

Balangir, May 8: A Right to Information activist had to sit on fast, along with his family members, to draw the attention of the administration to his crusade against corruption.

Gopabandhu Chhatria has been waging a lone battle against the district administration over alleged irregularities in the construction of a check dam.

Unable to get any response from the administration, Chhatria and his family members resorted to hunger strike in front of the district collectorate here today. This got the administration into action and it assured to hold a vigilance probe into the alleged the irregularities. Chhatria also responded by calling off the fast.

Chhatria, who is a beneficiary of the check dam, said the district administration had ignored his demand for a probe. The check dam, he said, had made it difficult for them to survive as it did not hold any water to save his crop. He, therefore, wanted to die with his family members in front of district collector’s office.

Balangir collector Sailendra Narayan Dey said that he had recommended for a vigilance inquiry into the allegations made by Chhatria.

Sources said that a check dam has been constructed in Jarasingha of Deogaon block between 2005 and 2008 under the food for work programme. While Rs 6.40 lakh had been spent under the food for work programme, Rs 3.60 lakh came from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Chhatria alleged that there were lot of irregularities in the construction of the dam and the work was of substandard quality. Moreover, the project was technically defective as it did not hold water during the stress period. He also added that though the dam was built on private land, the landowner had not been compensated. In fact, there had been no official acquisition of land for the project.