Bihar: NDA Govt Cancels 350 Contracts Worth ₹826 Cr Awarded For Supplying Drinking Water In Rural Areas During RJD-Led 'Mahagathbandhan' Regime

Bihar: NDA Govt Cancels 350 Contracts Worth ₹826 Cr Awarded For Supplying Drinking Water In Rural Areas During RJD-Led 'Mahagathbandhan' Regime

The decision to cancel the contracts was taken after an inquiry by the Public Health Engineering Department revealed that there were "irregularities in the process of selecting contractors", a minister said.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 01:12 PM IST
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Nitish Kumar | File

Patna: The NDA government in Bihar has cancelled 350 contracts worth Rs 826 crore, which were awarded during the previous RJD-led 'Mahagathbandhan' dispensation in the state for supplying drinking water in rural areas, a minister said on Tuesday.

PHED Minister Niraj Kumar Singh On The Cancelation Of Contracts

The decision to cancel the contracts was taken after an inquiry by the Public Health Engineering Department revealed that there were "irregularities in the process of selecting contractors", he said.

"During the previous RJD-led grand alliance regime in the state, many contracts were awarded by the department. An inquiry by the department revealed that due process was not followed in awarding 350 contracts worth Rs 826 crore. These were related to the rural water supply, including the installation of hand pumps and mini water supply systems," PHED Minister Niraj Kumar Singh told PTI.

The department has handed over the preliminary inquiry report to the competent authority in the state government for a thorough probe, he said.

"I recently called a meeting of senior officials of the department after getting the report, and later the cancellation order was issued," he said, adding that strict action would be taken against those who would be found guilty.

RJD leader Lalit Yadav was the PHED minister during the previous grand alliance government in the state. Altogether 1,160 contracts worth Rs 4,600 crore of the PHE department were awarded by the previous government in 17 months, Singh said.

"We have so far cancelled 350 contracts, the remaining are being examined," he said.

PHED Minister Refuses To Give Details Of Alleged Irregularities

The minister, however, refused to give details of the alleged irregularities detected by the department.

"It is not appropriate time to divulge the details as the matter is being investigated by a competent authority," he said.

According to documents available by PTI, Banka district tops the list where a maximum of 106 contracts related to rural water supply systems have been cancelled, followed by Jamui (73), Lakhisarai (20), Aurangabad (18) and Ara (11).

Commenting on the Bihar government's decision to cancel the contracts of the PHE department, RJD's state unit spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwary, said, "Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar and BJP leaders are scared of our leader Tejashwi Yadav. The previous 'Mahagathbandhan' government in the state had executed several people-friendly projects and taken major decisions like employment to 7-8 lakh youths and providing social security to the economically and socially weaker sections of the society."

The NDA partners are also "scared" of the impact of the welfare initiatives taken by the previous government, which benefitted lakhs of people in the state, he claimed.

"RJD is not scared of any probe to let them (the NDA government) do whatever they want to," he added.

The PHE department is responsible for ensuring the installation of hand pumps and mini water supply systems in small habitats and wards. It may be recalled that Nitish Kumar had snapped ties with the RJD and returned to the NDA in January this year.

Soon after the formation of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state, an order was issued to review all the decisions taken by the departments headed by former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and then two ministers of RJD - Lalit Yadav and Ramanand Yadav.

In a letter issued by the Cabinet Secretariat in February this year, officials of the health, road construction, urban development, and rural works departments had been asked to review the decisions taken during the previous grand alliance government in the state.

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