The chief engineer, PWD (Building) of Assam Government has expressed shock and concern over the execution of a development work at the historic site of Pothorughat peasants’ uprising in Darrang district.
The work was administratively approved at an amount of Rs two crores allegedly without following necessary departmental norms including the technical sanction of the project.
Jyotish Sharma, chief engineer, PWD (Building) while talking to a team of delegates of Mangaldai Media Circle, a local scribes body at his office, expressed about his total ignorance on the whole issue including plan, estimate and tender process of allotment of the contract.
He assured the media delegates of conducting an inquiry from his end with the field inspection within a short period.
“I have no knowledge about it . How it can be possible ! I myself will conduct an inquiry and will visit the site within three/four days with my team of officials,” the chief engineer said.
It is worth mentioning here that as per the provisions of the Assam Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRMB) Act, 2005, it has been made mandatory to obtain the technical sanction even before inviting the tender notice, not to speak of allotment of works.
But the building wing of Public Works Department (PWD) allegedly didn’t care for obtaining the technical sanction before inviting tender for construction works.
This serious anomaly has come to the light following the sanction of an amount of Rs two crores under Untied Fund (State Specific Scheme) of 2016-17 for construction of Farmers Training Centre cum Research Centre at historic Pothorughat in Darrang where 140 farmers were brutally gunned down by the British on January 28 of 1894.
It may be noted here that chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal while attending the Krishak Swahid Divas at Pothorughat in 2017 as the chief guest, had announced to sanction required fund for expansion and beautification of the Swahid Memorial site with a view to transform it into a national monument.
Accordingly, the State Government had sanctioned an amount of Rs five crores to the Agriculture department and Rs two crores under Untied Fund to PWD (B) through the development branch of the DC’s office, Darrang.
On receipt of the fund, the officials of the PWD (B) including the superintending engineer and executive engineer at Tezpur, assistant executive engineer and a junior engineer at Mangaldai Building Sub Division allegedly chalked out a design, where to fulfill their vested interest, divided the entire project to 14 different groups and without obtaining the technical sanction invited the tenders and allotted the works to 14 contractors of their choice keeping the chief engineer of PWD (B) quite in dark.
As per norms it has been learnt that the amount of Rs two crores sanctioned for a single work cannot not be divided into fragments without the approval of the chief engineer.
On the other hand, though there is no provision in the estimate for excavation of the historic graveyard where the British dumped the bodies of all the 140 martyred peasants belonging to both the Hindu and Muslim communities in the single pit, the contractor concerned had excavated the graveyard with a JCB as per the verbal instruction of the junior engineer at the site.