Rana demands high level central probe into utilization of funds in J&K
Jammu, Oct 31: National Conference Provincial President and MLA Devender Singh Rana on Tuesday sought probe by a Union Secretaries level central panel into the utilization of funds, especially under centrally sponsored schemes, in Jammu and Kashmir, saying perception is growing about massive corruption and misgovernance by the BJP partnered coalition government.
“Instead of Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas, the BJP is indulging in Apna Saath, Apna Vikas amid widespread allegations of corruption and misgovernance”, Rana said in a hurriedly called press conference at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon, soon after walking out of the District Development Board review meeting along with another NC MLA Dr Kamal Arora in protest against the muzzling of opposition voice by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh.
Rana made a fervent appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh for intervention, as the people of Jammu were particularly feeling sense of alienation, deprivation and betrayal by the BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti led coalition government.
In the wake of open resentment over the omissions and commissions of the BJP ministers, auditing of central funding has assumed significance, as the people have right to know where does the massive development funding pumped by the Centre go.
Rana said the BJP leadership in the State and its ministers had turned so brazen and arrogant that they are showing tendencies of intolerance towards the opposition. Being naïve in administration and inefficient, the ministers have lost the confidence of people, who are accusing the present dispensation as most corrupt. He said the special central auditing will help in knowing whether the money is being spent on bonafide schemes or go to the coffers of those at the helm. “Ache Din tu ab Corruption Ke dinoo mein badal gaye hai”, he said, adding that the people are finding themselves in lurch.
The MLA Nagrota said that the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh has failed on deliverance front and his colleagues have failed the people of Jammu region. Giving the sequence of events taking place in the review meeting, Rana wondered over open directions to engineers by the Deputy Chief Minister to have VIP road outside his residence at Canal Road macadamized to which he objected, citing the pitiable condition of roads across the city and in the entire Jammu region. He said Singh showed scant concern for non-coverage of 50 percent roads in the Jammu district, notwithstanding the fact that just 15 days were left for having black topping in specified temperature.
“The Deputy Chief Minister strangely issued directions about the thickness of the bitumen to be laid to which I objected, questioning his wisdom in doing so”, Rana said, adding that the road construction cannot be as per the whims and fancies of the Deputy Chief Minister as these had to be laid as per Indian Roads Congress Specifications Manual.
Rana said that soon after the road sector was taken up, it was revealed that 253. 90 km road length had been macadamized against the total target of 509.31 km in 2017-18. He said when a query was raised why the Deputy Chief Minister was concerned about a particular stretch of road leading to Circuit House (which is destination to his official residence also), Singh lost his cool and tried to “throttle my voice by accusing me of playing politics over the issue”. He said he took strong exception to it, saying that he was concerned about the overall development of the Jammu region and district in particular, being an elected member. He said Singh showed his intolerance to healthy criticism and opposition. He said the BJP ministers had a definite agenda of not letting the meeting go in presence of the opposition members, apprehending some awkward questions and queries.
He said the present dispensation has nothing to showcase except concealing their failures and allegations of omissions and commissions.
The Provincial President made a specific mention of ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Ujwal Yojna’ and said it is a non starter. He said the pleas being advanced by the BJP is that they are not able to find suitable contractors.
“This argument by itself raises lot of questions”, he said, adding that the name of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya is being hugely exploited by the BJP.
Rana also took the government head on over SMART city project, terming it a ‘huge scam’ the way the scheme has been conceived. He described Smart city as a “bigger scam” and said the way it has been conceived and planned, “I am teling you that the money will go waste and it will be a den of corruption”, he added.
On denial of Aadhar cards to Jammuities, Rana questioned the tall claims of resumption of issuing Unique Identification Number, saying the rural areas and hinterland presents a grim scenario of little number of machines and some totally defunct.
Referring to the decisions arrived at the previous board meeting and the directions passed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is the chairperson, the Provincial President read out several issues pertaining to his constituency Nagrota, saying no forward movement has been registered during the past six months. He recalled the clear cut directions of the Chief Minister to his demand regarding unsafe buildings of various departments especially of Education Department to the Chief Engineer, PWD (R&B) to do an audit of the unsafe buildings of School Education Deptt, to avoid any misshap and said the government is now saying that the list is being sought from the Director School Education, notwithstanding the fact that the list of schools was provided in the meeting itself.
He wondered that no action has been initiated over his demand regarding frequent accidents on newly constructed Jammu-Udhampur National Highway, despite the Chief Minister asking the Chief Secretary J&K to take up the matter with National Highway Authority of India for providing effective critical care response equipments and systems on the NH to respond to any eventuality and also to review the functioning of the Toll Plaza. Similarly, the directions of the Chief Minister to the Deputy Commissioner and DFO Jammu to take necessary steps to rehabilitate the dislocated shop vendors of Nandani due to change of the alignment of the NH, the Board is just saying that a proposal has been sent to the Planning Department.
He referred to the several other issues raised by him and Dr Kamal Arora MLA in the previous meeting and said these have been taken casually notwithstanding the directions of the Chief Minister.
Rana assailed the BJP for totally ignoring the people of Jammu, saying if the party continues to behave nonchalantly, National Conference will wage a war for the just cause of the region by exposing inefficiency of the present government.
“I will go into the micro details of how they are functioning because they have all failed. BJP want officers to be cardholders of the party,” he said.
He also had a word of advice for the bureaucracy not to behave as members of the ruling BJP. “They are accountable to the people, who will never accept them to behave like BJP stooges”. He took jibe at the BJP over misgovernance and pushing the state to a crisis like situation, saying they can be best ‘Pracharaks’ but not the administrators. He said the BJP has no calibre to run the government.
To a question over upcoming panchayat elections, he said “let them hold the twice deferred Anantnag parliamentary by-elections first and test the waters.” He said the National Conference remains always prepared to go to the court of people, who are real fountain head of power. He referred to the grand delegate session held in Srinagar two days back, saying this is an eye opener for all. He said the National Conference is deriving strength from the people and its visibility is discernible in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Wait for the upcoming assembly elections. The results will tell you. We will increase our footprints in the Jammu region and have a splendid victory in the Valley and Ladakh,” he said. (KNS)