The Hush Post, Chandigarh
Punjab’s Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu “Sherry” has cracked down on corruption with heavy hand in a matter pertaining to the malpractices with regard to the galiara project in Amritsar. Sidhu has ordered to impose punishment of dismissal from service in case of Hemant Batra, former STP of Amritsar. Other officials namely Banke Bihari ATP, Rajinder Sharma ATP and Harjinder Singh Building Inspector have been ordered to be reverted to 1 rank below. In case of Shakti Sagar Bhatia STP, Des Raj MTP, Surjit Singh ATP, Ramesh Chandra ATP, Suresh Raj ATP, Manohar Singh Bhatti ATP and Michel, Building Inspector, the punishment of 50 percent cut in the pension for a period of 3 years has been decided to be imposed. According to a government spokesman, this has been done to send a strong message to all to discharge their duties in an honest, transparent manner with adherence to the rules in letter and spirit.
In a statement issued here today, the spokesman of the department said that 33 officials of the corporation cadre, who remained posted at Municipal Corporation Amritsar and dealt with issues regarding galiara project were chargesheeted for dereliction of duty and willful violation of the provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act and Rules framed there under Rule 8 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment & Appeals) Rules. After following due procedure as per rules and after obtaining comments from the charged officials, an enquiry was conducted with Additional District Judge (Retd.) B.C. Gupta as enquiry officer. The enquiry officer submitted its report on 27-1-2016 as per which charges couldn’t be proven against 20 officials while the rest were found guilty. The enquiry was conducted in pursuant to the directions of the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court in CWP 14900 of 2010 alleging vast amount of the violations of building bye-laws taking place concerning above mentioned project with the unauthorized conversion of residential buildings into hotels, sarais and guest houses in and around the area of galiara in the holy city without seeking permission from the competent authority and without paying conversion charges thus causing a colossal loss to the departmental exchequer.
The spokesman further elaborated that after receiving enquiry report, show cause notices were issued and after receiving the replies, the competent authority issued orders imposing punishments such as stopping annual increments and nominal cut in the pensions for 3 years to the tune of 10 percent for those employees who had retired. Those still in service were penalized with stoppage of 3 annual increments with cumulative effect.