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25 Jul 2017

GTA probe: New PWD team to be sent to Hills

Saibal Gupta & Dwaipayan Ghosh | TNN | Jul 25, 2017, KOLKATA: The state PWD has decided to send a fresh fourmember team to the Hills in a couple of days. This decision came after the special audit team from the state finance department failed to make headway in preparing a compliance report due to non-availability of documents. "There are hardly any documents in the GTA offices.
So, the team is now depending on performance report based on physical verification of the projects, undertaken by the Hills administration in the last four years. A four-member team is already stationed in Darjeeling but we have decided to send a team of specialised people like civil, electrical engineers and specialists in construction cost and estimation," as senior PWD officer said.
Sources in the department said a meeting has been convened on Tuesday to finalise the names of the people, who will be sent to Darjeeling.
"This is second team that is being sent to the Hills. It has also been decided that after every 15 days, a new team will replace the old one. They will be working under chief engineer of North Bengal Soumitra Maity, who will send a progress report to the state PWD every fortnight," the officer added.
The state administration decided to rotate the team every fortnight on security reasons. "The team, which was to make a field trip to Kalimpong to ascertain if earthquake shelters had been built, could not do so due to roadblocks for two consecutive days at Teesta Bazar and Kalimpong. Similarly, the GTA engineering office was set on fire to ensure that all papers were completely destroyed," said an officer.
Overall, there has been hardly any progress in the audit. According to a member of the audit team, the panel is yet to trace accounts of the GTA for three financials — 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 — of the total five financials, when Bimal Gurung's Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) ran the civic body. Worse, there is no record of the Rs 40.5 crore money GTA members received for local area development during the fiveyear tenure. This was an untied fund of Rs 30 lakh received by each GTA member once a year.
The team also decided to go for physical verification of the projects undertaken by the Hill administration in the last four years.
The team has identified 16 projects, including highvalue projects like reconstruction of Rohini Road or construction of Latpancher Cinchona Guest House or the Open Air Theatre at Mall Road, Chowrasta.

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