Friday, March 1, 2024

Rs 1,300-cr eco-tourism project ‘scam’ comes to light in EGH

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From Our Correspondent
TURA, Dec 3: Meghalaya and corruption seem to have become synonymous. The latest case of alleged corruption in the state has easily bettered all other cases reported so far with the total misappropriation being projected at over Rs 1,300 crore.
As has been the case with several other instances of corruption, it is an RTI application that has blown the lid off the new case.
The Niksamso Garo Community Organisation (NGCO) on Sunday alleged blatant misappropriation of a total of over Rs 1,300 crore in connection with eco-tourism projects in East Garo Hills.
Several of these projects have been shown as complete on official papers but the hard reality is that most of them have been abandoned with the forest reclaiming the sites.
A total of nine such projects which were started in 2017 failed to see their completion despite the fact that they were shown as complete on paper. The projects, which were sanctioned at a total cost of Rs 1361.45 crore, were slated to be completed within 18 months from the start of the construction.
One such incomplete project is the Gittokgre Eco Tourism site  which is unlikely to be restarted. A video of the project site taken during a visit by members of the organisation showed the incomplete building overgrown with huge trees and the undergrowth, which would render it impossible to restart work.
According to the organisation, despite the projects having been left in the current position, the total amount meant for the projects — Rs 1361.45 crore — has already been withdrawn.
“This is unacceptable to us as an organisation. Such deprivation of the people off the Centre’s projects is condemnable. All those responsible for the illegal act must be held accountable and brought to book,” NGCO president, Tengrak B Marak said, while vowing to root out such corruption.

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