Follow Us:

Cong alleges scam in fund allocation under HP Jal Jeevan Mission, BJP rejects charge

Starting the debate on budget cuts in Jal Shakti department, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said the state government had made huge tenders without any funds and he was amazed at the audacity of officials in doing so.

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

Alleging irregularities in allotment of funds and schemes under Jal Jeevan Mission in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress party on Tuesday said a huge chunk of funds have been allocated for two constituencies of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur.

Starting the debate on budget cuts in Jal Shakti department, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said the state government had made huge tenders without any funds and he was amazed at the audacity of officials in doing so.

“This will prove a big scam if a probe is ordered into these irregularities as there is no balance or sufficient budgetary provisions,” he added.

He alleged that most of the funds under Jal Jeevan Mission had been allocated in the constituencies of CM and Jal Shakti Minister.

The charge, however, was rejected by the Chief Minister, who said funds and schemes were being allocated as per the requirements of a constituency.

“Our government has sanctioned development works worth Rs 3,000 crore for 42 constituencies of the state during the Covid pandemic,” he said, while inviting Agnihotri to his (Seraj) constituency to have a look at the ground realities.

Agnihotri also raised the issue of recruitments on outsource basis in the department and said minimum wages were not being given to these employees.

He also demanded that the Minister should reveal the status of various foreign funded schemes and said these were advertised by the government but no progress had been made on these till date.

Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari also raised the issue of allocating most funds to two constituencies under Jal Jeevan Mission and said the state government seemed to be following the example of ‘Hum Do, Hamare Do’.

Replying to the opposition members’ charges, Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said the state government did not differentiate between any constituency or area in the state.

The funds under Jal Jeevan Scheme were allocated as per the requirements and coverage of tap water in an area.

Seraj constituency had geographically tough terrain where settlements were located far away from each other, hence, more funds were required to provide coverage of tap water to the local population.

He raised questions on the functioning of the department during the previous Congress regime and said he used to sanction water connection to people but the department wasn’t able to provide the same due to lack of water pipes stock.

“However, it is due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s humble background and knowledge of the difficulties faced by the common man, he announced Jal Jeevan Mission on 15 August 2019 with a budget outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore,” he said.

Thakur further stated that there were many inconsistencies in the list of coverage of households with tap water facilities and now the government aims to provide tap water coverage to all by August 2022.

He raised concern over shortage of potable water in the state and said the state might face drought like situation in many areas due to less rains during monsoon and winter season in Himachal Pradesh.

“The climate change situation has become alarming as Rohtang Pass which usually receives 30-40 feet snow every year, has only received 3-4 feet snow this year which will result in water scarcity not only in the state but in neighbouring states too,” he added.