Addly Chief Secy submits report of scam to CM.
Chandigarh, April 7 (P2P) : Crores of rupees sent by the Central Government for the disabled were allegedly embezzled by the officials of the Public Works Department. In a high-level inquiry conducted by the Punjab government, it has been revealed that the officials of the Public Works Department made fake estimates, and got the funds released showing the work already done. Interestingly, the report of the investigation given by the Additional Chief Secretary of the Punjab Government is also being suppressed. 6064 lakh rupees (60.64 crore rupees) were not allowed to be used and this amount lapsed, while some amount was taken on 31st March itself so that the amount released by the center does not get any inkling. The interesting thing is that the time of this scam is also the same, when Vijay Indra Singla was the Public Works Minister in the previous government in the state, and a vigilance investigation is already going on against him.
According to the documents obtained, this scam continued from the year 2016 to 2022, when the central government asked for hassle-free arrangements in government buildings and offices for the differently-abled. An amount of more than Rs.16.75 crore has been released for barrier-free entry and other facilities to the handicapped in 20 government buildings of Ludhiana district on a trial basis for the year 2017-18 and 2018-19. Similarly, an amount of Rs 64.55 crore was released to the Punjab Public Works Department in the year 2021-22 under the project to facilitate the entry of the disabled in 212 government buildings/offices in 11 cities of the state. The matter began to unravel when the officials started pressurizing them to release Rs 49 crore out of the Rs 50 crore released in the budget for the incomplete works of Divyang for the current year. When the dispute arose, the government formed a committee to physically investigate the works done for the disabled, in which officers of the Social Security Department, Public Works Department, and Panchayat Department were included. The building of Anaj Bhawan in Chandigarh and the building of the Punjab School Education Board in Mohali were taken as samples for testing. This committee was formed under the supervision of the Additional Chief Secretary, Social Security Department submitted its report to the Additional Chief Secretary. In the report submitted by the Additional Chief Secretary to the government on March 3, it has been said that an estimate of Rs 37.94 lakh was made for the civil work in Anaj Bhawan, Chandigarh at Rs 102 lakh for the Divyangs, but these works Food supply department had already got it done, in public health work, an estimate of Rs 2.36 lakh was made for the toilet for the disabled, whereas this facility had already been given. Similarly, in the electrical works of the Public Works Department, an estimate was made for the works of lift, fire, etc. worth Rs.61.72 lakhs, which had already been done. Similarly, an estimate of works worth 664.23 lakhs was made in Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, in which most of the civil works had already been done by the board. According to the report, despite this, the estimates were made for a much higher amount. According to the report, fake electrical and public health schemes were made by the board itself. The interesting thing is that the senior officials of the Public Works Department did not even allow the junior officials to know about these works. It is clear in the report sent to the government that a committee of technical experts was also formed to get information about the estimate, but no information was given to them either. It has also been said in the report that the officials of the Public Works Department made fake estimates without any physical verification and took the amount. In the report sent to the government, the Additional Chief Secretary has written that if this matter is not stopped, such scams will continue to happen. He has recommended getting the matter investigated by a retired High Court judge. Here, in this case, the Vigilance Bureau has also started investigating this matter by linking it with former minister Singla.