Mon. Oct 26th, 2020

Punjab cancels tenders of Sarhind feeder, engineers on the radar

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Chandigarh, September 24 ( H S ): The Punjab Water Resources Department has recommended the cancellation of more than a dozen tenders of the Sirhind feeder. The tenders for the lining of the Sirhind feeder worth Rs 480 crore were passed last month. According to the letter of the department, irregularities were found in the allotting of tenders. Pooling of contract is another controversy, which is also a big corruption issue. The Punjab government has now started to plan to take action against the 4-member committee of engineers who allegedly misused their status to allot tenders to ineligible contractors by ignoring conditions of department.

The 136 km length long Sirhind Feeder irrigates an area of 9 lakh acres in Muktsar and  Faridkot districts of  Punjab. Due to seepage   in this canal, millions of acres of land in Malwa region have gone to barren. . This canal was completed in 1955 and its water capacity is 5264 cusecs. In the year 2011, the Central Government approved the project of relining it. Total expenditure on this project is to come to Rs 623 crore, out of which 55 percent has to be spent by the Punjab government and rest by the Central Government.

In the previous government, such irregularities had led to big irrigation scam .Numbers of officers also sent to jail and the case is still going on. Such irregularity was an effort the malign the image of the Captain Government.  A four-member committee of engineers was constituted to scrutinize the conditions of tenders and contractors, which included Superintendent Engineer Upkaran Singh, SE Rajeev Goel, Executive Engineer Jagtar Singh and Sukhjit Singh. But the committee approved such ineligible contractors by ignoring conditions in technical as well as in financial bid. Everything was going in the dark, but the issue became controversy when some newspapers published news in this regard and the department had to take action.

Sources also reveal that it is said that tenders were allotted to ineligible contractors to oblige officers of Vigilance, but it is matter of another investigation. Some internal disputes were also told behind such controversy, which related to the retirement of a SE and to grab the whole work by another group of engineers.