Divisional Commr to probe NIT plantation scam

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Sep 2017 10:27:58

Special Correspondent,

Maharashtra Government has appointed Divisional Commissioner Anoop Kumar to probe alleged plantation scam of Rs 19 crore in Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT).
Recently, Urban Development Department of Maharashtra Government has issued a letter to Divisional Commissioner to conduct in-depth probe into the alleged scam. Though no time-frame has been set, it is expected to take almost five to six months for completion of the probe, sources said.

MLC Girish Vyas had alleged that there was a massive tree plantation scam in NIT. Dr Deepak Mhaisekar, NIT Chairman, had requested Maharashtra Government to conduct a high-level probe in the alleged scam worth Rs 19 crore. He requested State Government to conduct a probe as practically all senior officers of the Trust were under scanner and facing charges in the scam. In the alleged scam, public money was siphoned of and undue benefits were extended to private contractor leading to cheating of public by making false claims about saplings planted across the city.

Dr Mhaisekar had suspended seven NIT staffers including a Junior Engineer Dilip Kene, Head Gardener B M Tibude, and five Gardeners namely Pramod Kinholkar, Eknath Bawankar, Murlidhar Bhuyar, Purshottam Urkude, and Pramod Chate, with immediate effect. These Gardeners had submitted the report regarding 100 per cent plantation by BVG group.

NIT had issued notices to 25 senior officers including those who had retired from the job. BJP MLC Girish Vyas had stated that NIT had invited tender for planting saplings in East, West, North, South parts of Nagpur city in which 1.60 lakh trees were to be planted. The total cost of the work was Rs 19 crore. The company from Pune M/s BVG bagged the contract.

According to Vyas, the company was to plant saplings in 28 months from the year 2012.
NIT had claimed that 47 per cent of plantation target was met, but the firm that had the responsibility of taking care of the saplings for three years, was paid for the entire job without any work audit being carried out, Vyas had alleged.
Vyas had alleged that only 35 per cent saplings were planted and there was no mention about number of saplings that survived. Total 31,000 trees had not been planted as per the work order. Also, while seeking investigations, Vyas had alleged that persons not entitled to sign the bills had signed and released the entire payment.