Vigilance probes Rs 4-cr stone-packing scam

 Jaleswar, May 17: The vigilance started an inquiry into Rs 4-crore alleged embezzlement in the construction of spurs and stone-packing work on Subarnarekha and repair work at Makidia under this block in Balasore.

The irrigation department had executed the work in 2015-16 through a contractor. It was alleged that contractors had allegedly taken away Rs 5 crore by repairing embankments of only 600 metres instead of 1400 metres as per the agreement.

At many places, stone packing has collapsed into the river. A technical team from Cuttack vigilance office visited five places and measured the stone-packing work for two days.

The Vigilance probe struck fears among officials of the irrigation department. The technical team comprised assistant executive engineer SP Das, an assistant engineer, a constable, Vigilance inspector from Balasore office Umesh Kumar Panda and two constables. Engineers of the Jaleswar irrigation division and the contractor were present during the inquiry. 

The technical team visited several other places and took measurement of two stone packing spots and as many stone spurs at Makidia Wednesday. They also measured stone packing submerged in river water with the help of fire brigade.

Officials of Balasore Vigilance office had raided the irrigation division office and seized important documents and agreement papers April 13. Four separate teams had also raided the office of the executive engineer of the irrigation department in Balasore, the office of the superintending engineer at Baripada, the SDO office and the junior engineer office (section-2) at Jaleswar.

It may be noted here that there was an estimated at Rs 6, 3,34,296  earmarked for reconstruction and repair of embankments at Makidia. However, the department awarded the contract to a contractor of Bhubaneswar at Rs 5,23,50,000.

The contractor had not himself carried out the work but leased it to another contractor, who only repaired a stretch of 400 metres.

Acting on allegations, Vigilance director Dr RP Sharma asked the Balasore Vigilance SP Sunil Kumar Senapati to begin a probe into it.          

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