Chandigarh, December 15, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Trade and Industry wing president N K Sharma today blew the lid off a Rs 1,500 crore LED purchase agreement scam perpetrated by the Local Bodies ministry in conjunction with private players to install 74,944 LED lights at severely inflated prices in municipalities across the State.
Asserting that the scam was initiated by then local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and completed by his successor Brahm Mohindra, the SAD leader said it was the for the first time in the history of the State that the government had agreed to pay private players Rs 1,520 crore over a period of ten years for an investment of Rs 60 crore.
Mr N K Sharma, who has also complained to the State Vigilance department and demanded a thorough probe into the kickbacks received by top Congress functionaries including successive Local Bodies ministers, said “there is very less likelihood of getting justice from this corrupt government”.
He said “once the SAD-BSP alliance government is sworn in we will not only order registration of a case in this matter but also forward the case for a CBI or central vigilance commission probe. We are determined that all those guilty of looting the State exchequer in this case should be put behind bars”.
Explaining the scam by releasing documents he had procured under the RTI, Mr N K Sharma gave details of the contract given in the case of the Patiala cluster which is one of the ten clusters for which contracts were awarded to change all prevailing lights into LED lights.
He said even though it was the responsibility of the municipal bodies to purchase the lights, the government took on this responsibility by claiming it was negotiating the price for purchase of lights for the entire State. He said shockingly, instead of purchasing high quality lights at reasonable rates, the same had been purchased at highly inflated rates which had put a further burden on the municipal corporations and councils in the State.
Mr Sharma said he had got quotations from Surya Roshini Limited which had put the price of lights as per the government order at Rs 4.39 crore only. He said if other costs including that of switches and fittings and annual maintenance at even excess rates was taken into account the total investment after reducing the cost of the old light system came to only Rs six crore. He said if this was multiplied by ten taking into consideration the ten clusters in which these lights were to be installed the investment cost came to Rs 60 crore.
The Trade and Industry wing President said it was shocking that the government had committed to pay Rs 1,520 crore over a period of ten years for a total investment of only Rs 60 crore. “This amounts to day light plunder of the State exchequer”, he said adding the contract was approved by Mr Navjot Sidhu and later signed by Mr Brahm Mohindra.
Asking chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi why he was not taking action in the case, Mr Sharma said “the chief minister must explain if he has become a party in the case and is also partaking of the spoils of this scam”.
Mr Sharma also highlighted other corrupt activities being conducted in Dera Bassi constitutency including large scale illegal sand mining in Zirakpur as well as cutting of Khair trees illegally in 90 acres of land in Lalru. He also highlighted how corrupt officers had been posted illegally in Zirkapur to fritter away the Rs 250 crore funds accumulated with the municipal council.