The Telegraph
Thursday , December 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Whiff of scam and scepticism
House plot prick for govt

The Opposition on Wednesday caught the government on the wrong foot in the House over construction of several unplanned and illegal highrises in the state capital.

Responding to a call attention notice moved by RJD MLA Lalit Yadav on one such building in the Gardanibagh area, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav sought time from Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary to collect facts.

“Former MLA Dilip Yadav and around 100 people had filed petitions with Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the urban development department principal secretary in April 2010. At that time, construction of the building was yet to begin. Today, it is on the verge of being occupied,” said Lalit.

He added that the building was constructed on a plot where the approach road was 7-ft wide even though the norm is that such a structure can come up on a plot in Patna with a minimum 20-ft wide approach road.

“If an accident occurs in the building, the casualty would be more than that of Adalat Ghat,” Lalit said. Seventeen people had died in the November 19 stampede during Chhath celebrations near Ad-alat Ghat. In response, Nand Kishore said: “The answer would need facts from PMC.”

The Opposition also accused the ruling JD(U) of protecting developers and builders. Congress leader and former Speaker Sadanand Singh said the (incumbent) Speaker should look into the issue personally.

“The government had passed the Apartment Act over three years ago. Then urban development minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey had emphasised on the need to stop construction of unplanned highrises in Patna. But till date, rules under the law are yet to be framed,” Leader of the Opposition and RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said.

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi conceded that the allegation levelled by Lalit was “serious” and pledged that there would be a probe into the charge and actions would be initiated against persons found guilty.

Brick riddle

JD(U) MLA Manjit Kumar raised the issue of a vigilance raid on the house of former Aurangabad motor vehicles inspector Raghuvansh Kuwar. The vigilance sleuths had, among other things, found a gold brick during the raid and it was mentioned in the seizure list. Kumar said the gold brick “became a silver brick” in the second list. Chief minister Nitish Kumar assured Manjit that necessary action would be taken against anybody found guilty.