BARIPADA: Mayurbhanj’s BJP unit on Wednesday alleged embezzlement of funds in execution of multi-crore Subarnarekha Irrigation Project (SIP) and demanded a high-level inquiry into the scam.
Staging dharna in front of the SIP’s Chief Engineer office at Laxmiposi, BJP leaders demanded strong action against those involved in misappropriating the government funds. They also submitted a memorandum addressed to Governor Ganeshi Lal in this connection to district Collector Vineet Bhardwaj and SIP Chief Engineer Pravat Ranjan Rout.
District BJP president Kandra Soren said former Chief Minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik had laid the foundation stone of the irrigation project in 1976. Construction work commenced in 1986-1987 with a cost of Rs 285 crore. “But due to neglect of the State government, the project cost increased to Rs 5,800 crore. Despite spending such a huge amount of money, there is still uncertainty over completion of the project,” he alleged.
He further claimed that the CAG in its 2010 report revealed that at least Rs 836 crore has been embezzled during execution of the project in the knowledge of the State government. “The Centre has provided 50 per cent of the funds for the project. The CAG report had mentioned that contractors were taking crores of rupees without carrying out work physically by submitting fake bills,” he alleged.
Slamming Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for ‘playing politics with tribal people’, Soren said the irrigation project was initially launched by the CM on 17 July, 2013. However, the CM inaugurated it again on July 19 this year in a bid to lure voters of the district. “The government is yet to confirm the amount of water to be released for irrigation purposes from the project,” he alleged.
Among others, BJP MLA of Baripada Prakash Soren, Bada Sahi legislator Sanatan Bijuli, Zilla Parishad president Sujata Murmu and many party workers were present.