The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jhargram plan lapses

Calcutta, Aug. 7: A report by the sub-divisional officer of Jhargram has questioned the “sustainability” of several development projects in Jungle Mahal announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is scheduled to visit the area tomorrow.

SDO Basab Banerjee said the projects, most of them complete, had been implemented with low-quality material and without proper tenders. The report has been submitted to western region development minister Sukumar Hansda.

“The materials are of so inferior quality that the sustainability of the projects is in question. This apart, contractors were engaged in these projects violating all norms,” the report said.

An official who was part of the team that inspected the projects in Jhargram said many of the structures — culverts, market sheds and community halls — were already “crumbling” because of the “poor quality” of cement and sand used. He said tenders had not been floated for most of the contracts.

The projects were being executed by the forest department, with funds from the western region department.

An official at Writers’ Buildings said the western region department, which was allotted Rs 183 crore in the last financial year, had requested other departments to execute the projects with the cash as it did not have the infrastructure to implement the schemes.

The forest department had submitted project proposals worth Rs 34.41 crore. “The first instalment of Rs 5 crore has been allotted,” the official said.

The inspection was conducted after residents complained that the forest department was not implementing the schemes properly.

After receiving the report, the western region department has decided to hold back the second instalment and asked the Paschimanchal Unnayan Parshad to conduct a detailed enquiry. “No fresh allotment will be made until the enquiry is complete,” an official said.

Minister Hansda said: “We have to find out the truth. We will conduct an enquiry into all the allegations.”

SDO Banerjee refused to share details of his report.

Forest minister Hiten Burman was not available for comment.

Poor Material

What the SDO's report says

  • Low-quality material used for construction
  • No tendering in majority projects
  • Site selection of drinking water sources not proper