Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Govt prioritises saving Rs 800cr over curbing graft


Bhopal: The Transport Minister Bhupendra Singh ordered closure of all the Transport Department check posts on the state borders on Tuesday morning. However, by the evening, the government had decided to partially rollback the decision – all for the sake of Rs 800 crore.

Singh had ordered all the 40 check posts closed after a discussion with the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. But when the formal order was issued in the evening, it said that only 21 check posts will be shut and 19 others, being operated by a joint venture company of the Road Development Corporation (RDC) and IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd. would continue to operate.

The state government would stand to lose around Rs 400-500 crore due to the closure of the Transport Department check posts. Sources said that if the RDC check posts would also have been shut down, the government would have to pay Rs 800 crore to the IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd. It was to save this amount that the government decided to let them run. Obviously, saving money is more important for the government than ensuring transparency in the working of the government and curbing corruption.

The Union minister for surface transport Nitin Gadkari wants that all transport check posts should be shut to curb corruption and to allow trucks smooth passage when they cross from one state into another. However, the state government does not agree.

The government says that the RDC check posts are automated with no human interface. The checking of the vehicles at these check posts will be computerised but in case of irregularity is detected, the challans would be issued by the staffers of the Transport Department. The transport minister said that there would be a complete ban on manual checking at these check posts.

The check posts may be compuertised but if they continue to exist, it would mean that the trucks would have to wait in queue at the state borders. These check posts are manned by transport department employees and contractual employees of the JV company. After the implementation of the GST regime, the Central Government has been insisting that all the documents of trucks should be checked at the originating point and there should be no checking at state borders.