The half-constructed skywalk projects of Raipur is going to hunt the BJP Chhattisgarh with assembly elections are around the corner. After BJP national president J P Nadda raised question over the halt of work on the project by the Congress government during his September 9 visit, Congress spokesperson R P Singh submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel, demanding an inquiry into the ‘corruption’ in the project. Singh accused former PWD Minister Rajesh Munat of committing corruption in the project.
The unfinished skywalk from AmbedkarHospital to Jaistambh in Raipur will be investigated, the chief minister reportedly gave an indication in this direction.
Singh wrote, BJP leader and then Public Works Minister Rajesh Munat, using his influence, got the project of Skywalk passed, which had no justification or need. Singh mentioning eight points in the memorandum, hoped hoped that the investigation of these facts will expose the corruption, irregularities and scams in this project. Singh said, by law, infrastructure projects costing more than Rs 50 crore can be built only after approval from the Public Fund Investment Committee-PFIC.
In the month of March 2017, this project of Skywalk was approved by for 40 crores 8 lakhsso that PFIC could be avoided. In December 2017, its cost was increased to Rs 81 crore 69 lakh. In this revised estimate, such things were kept which would normally have to be in the original DPR. It is alleged that this was done so that its cost in the DPR is kept less than 50 crores so that it does not have to be presented before PFIC. Had this been the case, the unnecessary projects with undue expenditure could have been stopped there. Singh said, this fact shows the criminal mindset behind the project.
The Skywalk project of Raipur has been in controversy since its inception, said Singh. He said that the department took out its original tender on 4 February 2017. Tender was also taken on 20 February. After that it got technical and administrative approval on 8 March 2017. This clearly means that under the pressure of the departmental minister, the officers were working without following the rules.
Congress leader says, the then minister Rajesh Munat suddenly gave instructions for 12 changes in the skywalk on 23 April 2018. This explanation is nowhere in the entire project report. Due to this, the cost of civil work alone increased by Rs.15 crore 69 lakh. RP Singh said,it seems that Minister Rajesh Munat wanted to pay more to the contractor concerned.
Singh said, on December 5, 2018, the assembly elections were held in the state. At that time the then Secretary of the Public Works Department sent a proposal for changed administrative approval. Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh also gave his approval, whereas according to the code of conduct this could not be done. The Finance Department issued the approval on 11th December and the Department issued the approval of the facility on 13th December 2018.
BJP spokesperson and former minister Rajesh Munat has openly challenged the government to investigate Skywalk. He said, if the government has the guts, then get the construction of the skywalk investigated by a retired Supreme Court judge. Don’t do petty politics, decide on it. He said, there is a Congress government for four years, all the officers are there, all the files are there. What were these people doing till now? In four years, they could not even decide what to do with this construction. Had this been completed, thousands of people walking on foot would have benefited. He said, he knows where this script has come from, but a BJP worker is not afraid of such allegations.