Opposition Congress accuses MDA government of power scam

Shillong, Nov 18: Opposition Congress legislator from Rangsakona Zenith M Sangma on Wednesday alleged rampant corruption in the Power department.

Addressing the media on Wednesday at the Congress Bhavan, Sangma alleged anomalies in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded smart meter system for consumers in Meghalaya, the Ganol Small Hydel Power Project, Saubhagya Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Jyoti Yojana Phase I and II and waiver of electricity bills for industries.

The Congress MLA pointed out that in the tendering process for ADB funded smart meter system such conditions were put in place that that only one bidder will qualify.

According to Sangma, the contractor would have to execute work worth Rs. 200 crores.

“But not surprisingly, the estimated cost was enhanced by 18 percent, which comes to Rs. 36 crore,” the Congress legislator said.

According to Sangma, no competition in the tendering process, where only one bidder of their choice could be qualified is a scam.

“Tendering process should be done in fair manner where lots of companies, suppliers would be able to participate in a competitive manner, wherein the question of enhancing the original estimated cost Rs. 36 crore would not have been there, this money is drained out for the purpose to fulfil the greedy of few,” he alleged.

Sangma also pointed out that in the execution of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Jyoti Yojana phase I and II, the Letter of Association has been revised by increasing scope of work without approval of funding agency – The Rural Electrification Corporation.

He alleged that the government have agreed to increase around Rs. 30 crores for extra work. Sangma since this is the government of India scheme 85 percent is funded by the centre and 15 percent by the state government amounting to Rs. 4.5 crores.

He also pointed out that in the Ganol Small Hydro Project Rs. 151 crore extra has been escalated through revision of estimates. Sangma said that when asked the government replied that the revision was done due to “geological surprise”.

“Didn’t the MeECL do soil testing before DPR. They said they missed out. How is this possible? The level of work where geological surprise could occur is already crossed. The construction of tunnel is over, construction under surface is over, only super structure is left so how is there geological surprise?” Sangma said.

The Congress legislator also said that in the Saubhagya scheme in the tendering process, for construction of infrastructure two companies were awarded with work and for small work and around 100 local contractors given work.

He alleged that for infrastructural component, work has been awarded to two big companies from outside the state at 51 percent above the scheduled rate and for 100 local contractors, work awarded at is par with schedule of rate of the same year for all components of work.

“Rs. 180 crore extra amount is required,” Sangma said.

The Congress MLA also alleged that the onetime settlement scheme announced by the state government is for the benefit of the industries.

“The industries consume around 52 percent and if 30 percent bill is waived off (from them) the State will lose around Rs.700 crore,” he said.

However, Sangma said that if waived off against domestic consumers the Congress is not against it.