Former Dy Mayor seeks Chief Secretary’s attention over sever indictment of SJPNL by CAG

Former CPI(M) deputy Mayor Tekinder Panwar drew attention to the severe indictment of SJPNL by the Comptroller and Audit General report presented in the state assembly on Monday. 

In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh Parbodh Saxena former Dy Mayor said that Shimla Jal Nigam Prabandhan Limited, a water utility that was created in 2018. He informed the CS that there are gross violations in running this utility which is funded by the World Bank. 

” If you are able to look into some of the files, particularly the letters that I have written to your office, you would realize that this utility has become a space for opaque deals, corruption, and cronyism of the worst order.” the former mayor said in the letter.

Through this letter, Tekinder pointed out the “performance-based contract” which was put on hold and struck out because of incessant voices raised by some other people who want a fair amount of transparency in running such utilities.

The recent report of the CAG tabled in the Vidhan Sabha, yesterday, i.e., April 3, 2023, itself is a severe indictment of the process and the manner in which the SJNPL is being run. It is a violation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment, as pointed out in the report.

He requested the CS to ensure the performance-based contract is put on hold and meanwhile a team may be constituted to look into the fact as to why the conditions have been changed time and again. 

The former Deputy Mayor has already pointed out the nexus existing between some of the officers of the utility and a private company that is almost certain of winning the contract. The conditions have been tailored made ensuring a cakewalk for this company.

Quoting the report of CAG on the urban local bodies he said that since 51 percent of the stakeholder in the SJNPL(at least on paper, though there are only two representatives on the board of directors out of 9 from the Shimla Municipal Corporation) is the Shimla Municipal Corporation and the new corporation may be sworn in by the first week of May, the call for further advancing this utility should be taken with their active participation.CAG has pointed out the decentralization of local self-government in the devolution of more power to elected representatives to reduce the control of administration and State government in the functioning of such bodies.

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