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No money to repairtube wells: Govt to HC

Patna: The Bihar government on Friday told Patna High Court that it has allocated no money to repair the defunct tube wells in the state.

The admission came during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Vikash Chandra aka Guddu Baba stating that 6,636 of the 10,240 tube wells across the state are defunct.

The state government, in an affidavit filed by principal secretary of minor irrigation department Sudhir Kumar, told the division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay that there has been no budgetary allocation for the tube-well scheme in the state.

On this, the bench directed the state chief secretary to file an affidavit stating the current position of the scheme in the state of Bihar. The bench directed the government to state how many tube wells are lying defunct across Bihar, how many of them have been repaired and by what time the government intends to repair the rest of them.

The state government had earlier also filed an action taken report in the matter.

"Having regard to the nature of materials which have been brought on record, we direct the respondents to ensure expeditious completion of the work of making the tube wells, which are intended to be made functional, shall be made functional expeditiously," the court said in its order.

The court further said: "From what have been placed by way of affidavit before this court, it transpires that total number of tube wells is 10,242, and out of these 10,242 tube wells, 3,740 tube wells are functioning. As many as 917 tube wells have become completely non-functional and cannot be, in fact, operated any further. As far as remaining non-functional tube wells are concerned, which may be repaired, is 5,585 tube wells."

The bench said that even if it is not possible to give a definite timeframe by which the remaining tube wells will be made functional, at least the ongoing scheme of the government and the steps taken by the state should be indicated in the affidavit.

On a previous occasion also, the supplementary affidavit filed by the superintending engineer indicated that as soon as the budgetary allocation is made by the state government, the work would commence. However, the officer was unable to elaborate why budgetary allocation was not being made.

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