Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: Action in connection with payment of advance to certain companies by the Water Resources Department has begun. The department suspended two in-charge executive engineers who were working for irrigation projects in Chhindwara and Pench. After the suspension, efforts are being made to hush up the case. The suspended engineers are Ashish Mahajan of Pench Vyapartan Project and Arunendra Nath of Chhindwara Irrigation Complex. Although the reason for the suspension has been attributed to negligence in work, main cause is Chhindwara irrigation project.

The Chhindwara irrigation complex kicked up dust after the Congress government’s fall and the BJP’s return to power. A sum of Rs 496 crore was given in advance for buying material for the irrigation project worth Rs 4,300 crore. HES Infra Limited and Max Mantena Private Limited are jointly dealing implementing the project. The advance payment was made against the purchase of equipment which did not reach the work site.

When the scam came to light, the officials of the department put pressure, and the equipment were kept at the site. Yet the work did not begin. The BJP leaders also raised the issue. BJP’s state unit president VD Sharma demanded an inquiry into the case and targeted the then additional chief secretary of the department, M Gopal Reddy.

HES Infra Private Limited also got the contract of the project in Pench. In 2019, a sum of Rs 12 crore was given to the firm as advance to buy equipment for the project worth Rs 138 crore. The suspension of these officers has rattled the department. Both the projects are with HES Infra Private Limited, which is working with Mantena to implement the work. The department has taken action against the lower-rung officers, but higher ups sanctioned advance payment to the companies. According to sources, the axe may fall on some higher-ups in the coming days.

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