RANJU DODUM | 31 JANUARY, 2020
Nod to Investigate ‘Financial Irregularities’ in Unfinished Road Near China Border
‘The firm has been looting public funds without completing any work on the ground’
ITANAGAR: The Arunachal Pradesh Special Investigation Cell (Vigilance) has given its nod to investigate alleged financial irregularities to the amount of Rs 172 crore for the construction of an 83-km road in the state’s East Kameng district.
The Seppa-Chayang Tajo road connecting seven administrative circles in East Kameng, which shares a border with China, is funded by the North East Council. The contract was won by Mumbai-based Gammon India Ltd in 2008 but work stopped after the firm allegedly ran through the initial Rs 90.5 crore fund.
Former chief minister Nabam Tuki had sought additional funds from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region in 2015, and subsequently an additional Rs 82.02 crore was released.
A revised estimate of the road project approved by the North East Council put the total financial expenses at Rs 172.52 crore and restricted spending to Rs 175 lakh for the 2018-19 financial year.
As per the agreement with the state government, the firm is to build 11 bridges, 289 culverts, and 44 retaining and breast walls along the stretch of the arterial road.
RTI activist from the district Payi Gyadi alleged that except for one bridge over the Pacha river no work had been completed.
Gyadi, who filed a complaint with the Special Investigation Cell, alleged that the firm has been looting public funds without completing any work on the ground.
Various other non-governmental committees have made similar allegations against the company.
In 2018 the Seppa Chayang Tajo Road Steering Committee alleged that the firm had failed to achieve even a third of the project’s goal.
In his recent complaint, Gyadi said an additional fund of Rs 60.66 crore was sanctioned in May 2017, and an agreement signed with company subsidiary Gammon Engineers Contractors Private Limited to complete the project.
Apart from neglecting work and indulging in financial irregularities, Gyadi alleged the firm is also using intimidation as a method to discourage people from filing complaints, saying that all litigation will take place in the Bombay High Court that will result in a strain on their expenses.
The Special Investigation Cell has taken note of the complaints, highlighting the allegations that include using ‘local goons to support its vested interest’ and the lack of any office, address, manpower, or machinery.
A ‘confidential’ letter from state vigilance commissioner GS Meena issued on January 13 this year says the state government has ‘accorded approval to conduct preliminary enquiry into the complaint against the M\s Gammon India for alleged irregularities’.
Neither firm’s website - Gammon India Ltd or Gammon Engineers Contractors Pvt Ltd - lists the road under its ‘Current Projects’ section.