Tinsukia: The deputy commissioner of Jorhat Roshni A Korati has ordered an inquiry into the alleged anomalies by Jorhat Development Authority (JDA) while getting into an agreement with a private developer to develop flats at a public bus terminus lying defunct.
The development came three days after RTI activists and advocates Rintu Goswami and Gautam Bora flagged the issue in a press meet alleging anomalies in giving the contract to the Jorhat-based private builder Jain Co Mechanical Pvt Ltd, a day after JDA brushed aside allegations as baseless and on a day legislative assembly speaker and Jorhat MLA Hitendra Nath Goswami addressed media.
Korati said a four-member committee has been constituted to investigate the alleged ‘anomalies’ by Jorhat Development Authority in awarding the contract to a private developer to construct on a public bus terminus. “The committee, to be led by additional deputy commissioner Biswajit Phukan, has been asked to submit its report within 30 days and till that time the agreement has been kept in abeyance.”
The circle officer of Jorhat West Uday Shankar Dutta, the accounts officer at DC office Bandana Devi, and deputy director of Town and Country Planning Deepjyoti Saikia are the other members of the committee.
The controversy kicked in after Goswami and Bora alleged that the JDA arbitrarily and unlawfully allotted the entire piece land – 14 bighas, three kathas and 12 lochas of the plot allocated to the JDA for bus terminus by the state government – to a private builder to develop commercial buildings and residential flats without obtaining any approval of the Directorate of Town and Country Planning.
Goswami said this plot of land allotted for a bus terminus cannot be used for purposes other than without the approval of the state government.
Pointing at clauses of the agreement, the activists said, out of the residential flats, only 20 per cent would be owned by JDA and the rest by the private party, while only 23 per cent when it comes to commercial portion of the buildings. “There was no mention of PMAY flats in the agreement signed between JDA and the builder as claimed by JDA,” alleged RTI activist Goswami.
They alleged that the builder was permitted to mortgage the land with any bank or financial institution for a loan which is very alarming and threatened to move the court f the government doesn’t intervene and stop the project.
However, JDA chairman Prasanta Jyoti Goswami brushed aside the charges terming them baseless.
Goswami said the project had been prepared as per government norms and rules. ” The residential flats would be constructed only on three bighas of the total land under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for economically backward people as per norms of the scheme. No new commercial buildings will be constructed as alleged.”
“Over four bighas plot would be made available for parking public transport vehicles like buses and minibuses and will remain under JDA,” Goswami said and added, “JDA’s 20 per cent share would be rented out while the rest 80 per cent under the private builder will be sold to people under PMAY scheme.”
MLA Hitendra Math Goswami, who happens to be a board member of JDA, clarified his stand on the deal in a press conference on Friday.
Goswami said, there is no wrongdoing as such. However, there should have been more transparency while agreeing. “I spoke to the DC, after which investigation has been ordered.”
According to sources, JDA entered into such a big deal without floating a tender which is a serious deviation from the SoP in such cases.
The bus terminus at Horusorai, owned by JDA, was inaugurated by former chief minister Tarun Gogoi in 2004.
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