ITANAGAR, Oct 17: The watershed management project secretaries under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for Bameng CD block in East Kameng district alleged that “the rural development (RD) joint director (RE)-cum-SLNA nodal officer has collected Rs 11.1 crore as commission for releasing payments.”
Project secretary Ato Sonam claimed that a total amount of Rs 11.1 crore was collected by RD Joint Director (RE)-cum-SLNA nodal officer Chera Sanjiv by demanding 20 percent commission for release of payments against the watershed management component of the PMKSY from the project secretaries concerned.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Sonam alleged that the joint director “distributed a total central fund of Rs 55.71 crore to the project secretaries who were able to deliver 20 percent commission, while depriving other project secretaries who refused to pay the commission amount.”
Stating that the total central fund of Rs 55.71 crore had been released with the strict condition that it be utilized for completing projects under Batch 3 (2011-12), Sonam claimed that the RD joint director (RE), however, used the fund to also accommodate payments against Batch 4 (2012-13) without clearing projects under Batch 3.
Sonam informed that under Batch 3, there are 41 projects, out of which only 13 projects were paid for on a “pick and choose basis,” while under Batch 4, which altogether has 23 projects, 10 projects were paid for “illegally.”
Questioning how payment against projects under Batch 4 could be made while there are still 28 projects remaining under Batch 3 of the PMKSY, Sonam said that for Batch 3, the joint director has released a total fund of Rs 32.21 crore, while the remaining amount of Rs 23.49 crore were released for Batch 4 projects, which Sonam said is against the terms and conditions.
He claimed that the joint director asked for 20 percent commission from him and others also but upon their not paying the commission, the payments against their projects were cancelled.
Sonam said that several project secretaries have had to borrow money from others on interest to meet the 20 percent commission demanded by the joint director.
Stating that he had written to the chief secretary in this regard three months back but no tangible action has been initiated, Sonam said that “the reputation of the state government is also at stake here, since if officers like the RD joint director (RE) are allowed to indulge in corruption unabated, it means that the RD minister and the state government are also hand in glove with such officers.”
The project secretary further claimed that the joint director also got out-of-turn promotion without a DPC meeting, “wherein five senior officials concerned were deprived” and that the BTech (civil) certificate of the RD joint director (RE) was also issued by a university which is blacklisted by the UGC.
Sonam along with other project secretaries issued a deadline of one week to the state government to take tangible action, including suspension and SIC inquiry, and reverting the RD joint director (RE) to his original post of assistant project officer (technical).
He added that, if the state government fails to initiate any action within the given deadline, it would be assumed that the government and the RD minister were also taking their shares from the illegally collected commission, and that the project secretaries would stage protests over the issue.
Meanwhile, RD Joint Director (RE) Chera Sanjiv rubbished the allegations.
He said the funds were released by the central authority, and were approved by the state government “on a performance basis,” and that he has no authority over who gets the funding.
Also stating that the project secretaries would have to prove their allegation of him taking 20 percent commission, Sanjiv said that “the performance of the complainant’s project was not satisfactory, due to which funds were not issued.”
Expressing apprehension that the complainant is being backed by one of his own senior colleagues to make an issue, Sanjiv said that “the rural development department works in a most transparent manner, so there is no scope of corrupt practices.”
On the releasing of funds for both batches, he said that it was also directed by the central authority that the sanctioned funds be issued for completion of projects under both Batch 3 and Batch 4 on the basis of performance.
The RD joint director (RE) also clarified that his promotion was not out of turn as his seniors gave him “the forgo” to be promoted to his current position, and that it can substantiated from the office record. He added that there was no seniority basis as such, and that he had also completed the required experience of eight years as assistant engineer.
Regarding the allegation of his BTech degree being fake, Sanjiv informed that the university in question is not blacklisted and that it is a UGC approved one. He added that the authority concerned had given him the NOC, after which he pursued further studies.