UP orders probe in to Akhilesh’s Gomti River Front project

first_imgTwo weeks after coming to power, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has constituted a judicial probe in to financial irregularities in the Gomti River Front project, a much-publicised initiative of fromer chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.The government has constituted a three-member committee headed by retired Allahabad High Court judge Alok Kumar Singh for the probe.A.K. Garg, a professor of the finance faculty of IIM-Lucknow, and retired professor of riverine engineering of IIT-BHU, U.K. Chaudhary, are part of the committee. The probe team is expected to submit its report within 45 days.The Gomti River Front in Lucknow came under the scanner of the government after Mr. Adityanath, last month inspected the site and questioned the progress of work.“People’s money cannot be allowed to be looted at any cost,” he tweeted after his visit. He had said a probe would be ordered into the Gomti River Front project and asked officials to link the project to the Centre’s Namami Gange scheme. The Gomti merges with the Ganga in Jaunpur.State Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar on Wednesday evening issued notifications and orders for the judicial inquiry.A sum of Rs 656 crore was approved for the Gomti River Channelisation project, which was later revised to Rs 1,153 crore.According to a government spokesperson, however, even after the expenditure of around 95% of the revised sanctioned amount only 60% of the project work was completed.Apart from this, the spokesperson said, “excessive amount of money” was spent on “non-essential works” instead of utilising the funds for making the river pollution free. Complaints were also received that the previous Samajwadi Party government did not follow the “laid down procedure” in carrying out the works.The three-member inquiry committee will probe the “quality” of the Gomti River channelisation scheme, delay in project work and irregular expenditure of funds.The probe would also include the verification of costs of various components of the project, accountability of the work complete so far, delay in implementation, determining sustainability of the planning in terms of environmental conservation and checking the status of payments made.According to the official website of the Gomti River Front, the project is inspired by similar schemes in other countries, including Tokyo, wetland area near Putrajaya lake in Malaysia, Danube river in Vienna and Olympic Park on Thames, London.The project includes the construction of a diaphragm wall on both banks of the Gomti river to channel its flow. The land between the waterway and the embankment was developed for public utility and boasts a cycling track, jogging and walking paths, a play-area for children, a fountain, and an amphitheater among other things.The main bridges on the river have also been illuminated with RGB lights, which is enhanced on weekends. The project, though still not fully complete, was inaugurated by Akhilesh Yadav last year.last_img

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