Minister Yaspal Arya denies charge, says not even a single rupee paid to the Tata Motors for bus fleet
Congress members demanded constitution of SIT in the case of purchase of a fleet of 150 buses by the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation which had to be grounded after a serious technical snags. The Assembly speaker Prem Chand Agarwal while denying the permission to hold discussion on the alleged irregularities in the purchase of buses under rule 310, allowed debate under rule 58. Initiating the discussion, the leader of opposition Indira Hrirdayesh said that recently the corporation had purchased 150 buses and when they were pressed into service, gear- levers of three buses broke off. She said that the roadways employees have made a video of these buses which has gone viral in which the parts of a newly purchased bus are falling off. She sought to know the conditions under which these buses were purchased and the procedure followed in the deal by the government. Hridayesh alleged that it is clear that corruption and negligence has occurred in the purchase of the fleet and said that the government should order SIT inquiry in the issue. The Chakrata MLA, Pritam Singh said that before going ahead with purchasing the entire fleet, the corporation should have bought five buses and test driven them. Launching an assault on the government and ‘ zero tolerance on corruption’, he said that for such cases, Lokayukta should have been appropriate forum for investigation. He reminded that the BJP had claimed that it will bring in Lokayukta within 100 days of assuming office in the state but Lokayukta is nowhere to be seen even though the government is about to complete three years in office. When the treasury members intervened during Singh’s speech and reminded about corruption during Congress government, he dared the government to investigate cases of corruption if any during the previous regime. Jageshwar MLA, Govind Singh Kunjwal, Ranikhet MLA Karan Mahara, Bhagwanpur MLA Mamta Rakesh, Dharchula MLA Harish Dhami and Kedarnath MLA Manoj Rawat also spoke on the issue and demanded probe by SIT in the Rs 36 crore purchase of buses.
Six Bills tabled in Assembly on third day
Six important bills were tabled by the state government on the third day of winter session of Uttarakhand Assembly on Friday. The Parliamentary Affairs minister Madan Kaushik tabled Uttarakhand Panchayati Raj (second amendment) bill, 2019, Uttarakhand former chief minister facilities bill 2019, Factories (Uttarakhand amendment) bill 2019, Contract Labour (regulation) Uttarakhand amendment bill and Uttarakhand Agri Produce Mandi (production and regulation) amendment bill in the assembly. He also placed the Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Management Act- 1950 and Soban Singh Jeena University bill-2019 in the assembly.
In his reply the Transport minister Yashpal Arya said that the opposition is making baseless allegations of corruption in purchase of buses. He said that proper process of tender and online bidding was held by the department for purchase of buses. The minister said that entire fleet of 150 buses has reached the state and the corporation has inducted 125 of them in service. He accepted that snags have been reported in three buses after which the entire fleet of buses has been grounded. The minister clarified that the government has made no payment to Tata Motors for the buses and it even has Rs 1.91 crore bank guarantee deposited by Tata Motors. He said that the government has appointed Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) as third party investigator in the deal.
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