Rs400 million embezzled; C&W dept dumps Booni bridge project

BOONI, April 5: Even after over three years, work on the construction of an RCC bridge in front of the Booni town could not be completed. bridge copyAbout three years back, the then government had released 400 million rupees for the project to link the headquarters of Mastuj tehsil with other parts of the district. The old wooden bridge remains in a dilapidated conditions and can lead to a fatal accident any time. However, despite receiving the amount, the contractor, in collusion with the officials of the communication and works (C&W) department, left the work halfway and there is no one to make him or the C&W department official accountable. It may be noted that for over a year, the people of upper Chitral, especially Booni, have observed hunger strikes and held protest rallies demanding a judicial inquiry into the corruption in the C&W, public health and other departments. These departments have embezzled billions of rupees by cheating the government. The C&W officials and the contractors even on paper showed that they had completed the black topping of Booni-Mastuj road and pocketed millions of rupees. A fact-finding committee also came up with a novel report that the road had been black topped. The black topping of the road was never started in the first place. The corruption of the C&W department officials can be gauged from the fact that they even did not spare the funds allocated for the construction of a judicial lock-up in the courts of Booni. When the construction of the lock-up could not be completed on time, civil judge (now made OSD) Rehmatullah Mehsood summoned the contractor. The contractor told the judge that the C&W officials had taken one million commission from him. The judge in a quick move, ordered the arrest of four officials of the C&W department. The residents of Booni demanded that the government should take action against the contractor of the Booni bridge and also take the C&W officials to task for embezzling the amount.—GH Farooqui]]>

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