Cong alleges scam in Saubhgya scheme, power minister denies claim

Shillong, Sept 13: Meghalaya Power Minister, James K Sangma on Friday rubbished the allegations of a scam in the implementation of the central government’s Saubhagya scheme in the state.

“When the state was moving towards 100 percent electrification the opposition was going “hammer and tongs” over it,” James said while replying to a short duration discussion on the final day of the Autumn session of the Meghalaya Assembly, brought by Congress MLA from Ampati, Miani D Shira.

The opposition Congress members wanted that the government should constitute an independent enquiry into the alleged scam.

Leader of opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma alleged that the implementation of the Saubhagya scheme in the state was a “big scam” and it needs to be stopped to protect the interest of the state and its people.

He also alleged that there was malafide intent in going through a tendering process for the Saubhagya scheme.

“But the government of the day is in denial mode,” Dr Sangma said.

Meanwhile, the Power Minister refuting allegations of any favouritism in the tendering process asked how it makes “malafide intent”.

“It encourages transparency wherein a system is set,” Sangma said.

According to the Power Minister, the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL)made certain conditions tough because the contractor ultimately selected would have the capacity to carry out the works.

“The contractor would have had to work in a time bound manner. Therefore, stringent conditions were put in the tender,” Sangma added.

On the question of why an aggrieved party who had initially petitioned the Meghalaya High Court withdrew the case later on, the Power Minister said that the opposition should have present the facts and not make insinuations.

“We are supposed to present facts. We should not make allegations of why the petitioner changed his mind,” he added.

The Power Minister also pointed out that under Saubhagya the rate of electrification of villages in the state was going at a fast rate. Sangma pointed out that in the last six months 500 villages were electrified, whereas under Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) in the last three year 1991 villages were electrified.

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the issue, Shira said that in the tender document one of the criteria was that a contractor should have the experience of completing a contract of Rs 100 crore.

“This is a considerable amount to qualify,” the Congress legislator from Ampati said.

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