Amrut project reports: UDYF alleges graft

‘Selection of Ram Biologicals to prepare reports for 23 projects suspicious’

The UDYF, the youth wing of the United Democratic Front, has alleged large-scale corruption in commissioning project reports of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Tranformation (Amrut) in Kozhikode Corporation and many other local bodies in the State.

State general secretary of Youth Congress and Kozhikode Corporation councillor Vidya Balakrishnan, who had raised the issue in the Corporation Council meeting on Saturday, took the issue to the public on Sunday.

At a press conference, she told reporters that the selection of Ram Biologicals, a Kozhikode-based waste management firm, to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for 23 out of 27 projects under Amrut in the State, was suspicious. She said top officials and political leaders had favoured the firm despite it not being qualified for the job.

“The procedure of evaluation of technical qualifications for consultants for Amrut projects states that the applicants should have experience in at least three similar government assignments. The Corporation could not provide any documents to prove that Ram Biologicals had the experience,” said Ms. Vidya. Besides, the electrocoagulation technology proposed by the firm was not recommended as a method for sewage treatment as per the Central Pollution Control Board manual, Handbook of Septage Treatment or the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation manual.

“A detailed investigation should be carried out into how a company that does not qualify got into the empanelled list of consultants prepared by the State Suchitwa Mission. It even managed to grab consultation for so many projects, surpassing public sector enterprises such as Kerala Water Authority,” she said.

The Kozhikode Corporation had granted ₹56 lakh to the firm as commission even before the DPR was prepared. The Corporation had not even finalised the locations of the STPs, as the public consultation process was not carried out. The financial bid from the company was approved even before their technical bid was submitted, she said.

Independent councillor Mohammed Shameel, who accompanied Ms. Vidya, pointed out that the technical committee of the Kannur Corporation had rejected the sample project report submitted by Ram Biologicals. But the technical committee was soon reconstituted to accommodate the firm, he said, and pointed out that the same firm had won the bid to set up plastic processing units in various local bodies in the State. “The machines that cost ₹4 lakh to ₹5 lakh in the open market was sourced through Ram Biologicals for around ₹9 lakh,” he said.

The UDYF has demanded a Vigilance inquiry into the allegations before going ahead with Amrut projects in the State.

It would take out a march to the Corporation office on July 6 to press the issue, said Youth Congress district president Noushir P.P.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:44:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/amrut-project-reports-udyf-alleges-graft/article28237030.ece

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