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STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 1 November
The north Bengal development minister, Mr Gautam Deb, who is also chairman of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) said that the state would conduct a special audit to unearth the financial scam over the past 20 years. “We have decided to conduct a special audit of all records over the past 20 years. NBSTC officials, during the LF regime, were allegedly involved in underhand financial transactions during auction of condemned buses and payment for body building charges of new buses,” Mr Deb said.
“Primary investigation revealed that Rs 40 crore was misappropriated for body-building of buses. A property owned by NBSTC’s Ultodanga depot, whose estimated value was Rs 150 crore, was sold off at Rs 24 crore,” he said.
According to him, the annual deficit is estimated Rs 70 crore per year. The corporation was sick too during the Left Front period due to financial irregularities and recruitment of excessive staff without concurrence from the state finance
department. “The state government is trying hard to revive its position though it has no plan to increase the fare right now. Employees are yet to receive salary for September,” he said.
The NBSTC authorities are facing problems to disburse pension due to fund crunch. A total of Rs 81 crore was estimated as due in provident fund account, officials said after a review meeting held yesterday.
The north Bengal development minister, Mr Gautam Deb, following instruction of the Chief Minister, has taken initiative to form a separate syndicate to run new 100 buses, which would be procured under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM). Buses, under JnNURM, will run in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar from Siliguri. The NBDD and NBSTC will jointly form a board to monitor the new project.
NBSTC today launched its website to provide information to the consumers and trying to activate interstate route permits.