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JVM cries foul over road bias

Ranchi, Feb. 3: JVM MLAs today staged a daylong dharna in front of the rural works department principal secretary’s office at secretariat building in Ranchi, alleging irregularities and rampant corruption in construction of roads under the plan head.

Three Opposition MLAs — Phoolchand Mandal (Sindri), Satyendra Nath Tiwari (Garhwa) and Chandrika Mahtha (Gandey) — led by JVM legislature party leader Pradip Yadav, squatted before principal secretary S.K. Satpathy’s chamber in the FFP building to register their protest.

They alleged that chief minister Hemant Soren and MLAs belonging to the ruling alliance had taken a lion’s share of the total allocation.

“The rural works department principal secretary vide his letter dated September 11, 2013, had clearly stated that all executive engineers should take up construction of only 5km of rural roads in each block. But in Dumka and Masalia blocks, 118km stretches are coming up,” Yadav claimed.

He further alleged that against the total sanctioned amount of Rs 100 crore, over Rs 52.22 crore had been diverted alone to the chief minister’s Assembly constituency, Dumka. Congress MLA from Bhavnathpur Anant Pratap Deo, minority welfare minister Haji Hussain Ansari and Assembly Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta were among other major beneficiaries, Yadav added.

Satpathy, however, claimed otherwise. “You can point fingers at me if 5km road was not developed in each of the blocks. But how can I stop the chief minister from approving more roads in certain areas. I have been handling the rural works affairs for the last four years. There has been no irregularity on my part,” Satpathy clarified.

Soon after the dharna began at about 11.30am, Satpathy invited the MLAs to his chamber for talks, but they initially refused.

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