TMC alleges Rs 632 cr financial anomalies in MEIDP ; govt refutes
Shillong, Dec 5: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has alleged largescale financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 632 crore in the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project (MEIDP) headed by an IAS officer D Vijay Kumar.
According to a statement issued by TMC’s national spokesperson Saket Gokhale, the irregularities happened under the company Meghalayan Age spearheaded by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s top aide Vijay Kumar.
Gokhale pointed out that Meghalayan Age Ltd. is a government-run company founded in 2020 and it is responsible for implementing the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project for which the Meghalaya govt has taken a loan of Rs 632 crore from the New Development Bank (NDB).
“Several projects worth crores have been announced as part of the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project. Tenders and RFPs have been floated for these projects. However, the tenders have been floated by Meghalayan Age Ltd. and not the government, which means that none of the details of the tenders are public and the process of awarding these tenders and the names of contractors who have been awarded these tenders is secret and not revealed publicly,” Gokhale said.
A majority of projects under the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project are construction of roads which technically falls under the ambit of PWD Roads but is instead being undertaken by Meghalayan Age Ltd, the statement said.
“Road construction and public works are a sector where massive corruption and irregularities have been seen in the past with most contracts going to favoured ‘special’ contractors like Badri Rai and Company instead of local contractors. It is absolutely bizarre and unclear why road construction projects worth crores are being undertaken with borrowed funds in the guise of ‘ecotourism development’ when these are basic responsibilities of the PWD,” it added.
No financial report has been filed by the company to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs since 2020, said Gokhale and alleged that there was no transparency in appointing consultants or the process of awarding the projects worth crores.
Meanwhile, the Government of Meghalaya has stated that ‘false, malicious and disrespectful’ claims have been made against the Government of Meghalaya, the Meghalayan Age Limited, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and officers of the State Government by TMC leader Saket Gokhale in a press statement today.
The State Government strongly rejects all these claims which are fabricated and devoid of facts. Further, the issuer of this press statement never approached the State Government or any of its agencies to seek any information nor used any of the publicly available information including those available at https://meghalayatenders.gov.in.
The issuer of this statement has made such motivated and inaccurate claims in the past and it appears that the sole intention behind the recent press statement is to mislead the public. The State Government views this very seriously and is considering suing the issuer of this press statement for defamation. The Meghalayan Age Limited (MAL) is a State Govt company under the aegis of the Planning Department, which has been incorporated under Section 2 (45) of the Companies Act, 2013. The project cost for the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project ( MEIDP) is about Rs. 731 Cr and is one of the many externally aided projects (EAPs) being implemented in the State. It must be noted that under any EAP being implemented in the northeastern states, the Government of India passes 90% of the funding as grants to the State government.
Thus, only 10% of the total amount has to be paid by the State government. Further, the entire tendering process for MEIDP is being done as per the norms of the State Government and is being overseen and approved by the funding agency, the New Development Bank (NDB). All the details are made available to the public at – https://meghalayatenders.gov.in. Given the above, it appears that all the claims being made by the issuer of the press statement seem to be highly motivated and accordingly a point-by-point detailed response is being issued.