Dear readers, help us in getting your looted money back

The story of loot by the PWD is not an isolated aberration that a minor course correction will solve. It is a symptom of a deep disease that plagued the previous government.

Sujay Gupta | AUGUST 07, 2012, 02:43 PM IST
Dear readers, help us in getting your looted money back

Unfortunately, the disease is being noticed in its full blownramification, after the body that committed that loot is dead. The post mortemthat we are doing is not intended to determine the cause of death - that’salready established. The post mortem actually reveals the anatomy of thedisease and how it spread. The big ask is, will it prevent repeats?

The new government gives it hope that it won’t. But unfortunately,this new school still has the remnants of the old school. The current PWD ministeris not a spring chicken resurrected from the conservative kitchens of the SangParivar and put there on a mission of service before self. He, SudhinDhavlikar, knows as much about the paths and tunnels through which PWD filesand tenders pass, as well as his predecessor Churchill Alemao. So the shortpoint is this. While we expose and will continue to expose (Readers, you havejust seen the trailer. The picture, as the Hindi movie dialogue goes “abhi baki hain”) what happened in thepast, we will be keeping a close watch on the present.

To be fair to the Maharaja of Madcaim, no mad rush to issuetenders has been noticed. In fact in division six of the PWD, the epicenterof  irregularity, just one tender hasbeen released since March, as opposed to the previous government’ s rate of 20tenders per day  which went up to even100 on the two days before the conduct of conduct for the last assemblyelections kicked in.

Yet again, let us emphasise that we are not singling out thePWD. We are using it as a glaring example of corruption. But it is here that itwas on vulgar display, a metaphor of ravenous loot. Here, multiple tenders werefloated for the same stretch of road in different names, mostly in the samefinancial year and in quick succession. Scrutiny of documents has revealed thatthe same contractors have been given contracts repeatedly. The tendering hasbeen a farce, with often the “losing” party’s quote, a mere 5000 rupees morethan the winning party’s (lowest bidder). The pre tender cost escalation fromthe estimated cost and the actual award is always between 4.5% to 4.98 or even4.99%. That is because cost escalation up to 5% is permitted officially. Thereis not a single instance where the cost has been brought down to below theestimated cost, through  negotiations.And we are talking all white here. The black side of these deals is anotherstory.

Here’s another shocker. In just division six, 40 % of theannual non planned amount in the PWD, was tendered in just 48 hours on December22 and 23 2011 before the code of conduct came into place on December 24. Roads which were “hotmixed”,“improved”, “fortified”, “strengthened”, “developed” ( various terms used forjustifying the allotment of works), lie in a shambles, full of potholes.

There is noshame left. Is there is a Goa left, when most of its ruling class has abandonedevery principle in its composite, vulgar commitment to theft?

Did ministers install metersoutside their cabins, homes and circuit houses, clocking up a running accountof payments that went into their private pockets?

And why did they succeed? They did becauseeach sport has its own lord. As long as he is in office, his support system ofother politicians and department officials (either willingly or forced, oftenthe latter) keeps him going. But it is not the sport that the lord loves butthe infallibility that he craves. The sport of corruption is no different.

So why did leaders of the Congress thinkthey were infallible till we the people of Goa made them mortal? That’s becausethe formula for upward mobility in the Congress is a happy combination ofloyalty and corruption but the latter gets far more weightage from the partyexaminers, affectionately called ‘AICC secretaries in charge of the Goa desk”

There is another reason why the corruptthink they are infallible. Long stints in power, has taught the Congress towait and tide over temporary political downfalls. It waits for any challenge torun out of steam. That is what we the people of Goa must ensure against. In ourefforts to scrutinise the current government- which we must do anyway- wecannot, we must not, we can afford not give up the challenge to bring thecorruption of the previous government into the open. After all, the end resultof exposing corruption is not the downfall of a government but the cleansing ofsociety.

Corruption in Goa is not latent. It’sblatant.  The class which does itimagines it’s beyond accountability. And for the first time, a rattledpolitical class has started attacking newspapers and journalists with blatantlies borne out of frustration. A senior leader like PratapSingh Rane too fellinto this class when he lashed out at this writer because The Goan reported that his own MLA Babu Kavlekar said that theRane’s used him as rubber stamp to push allotment of SEZ plots by the GIDC.Please note that a week after senior Ranes statement that Kavlekar had deniedmaking those comments, Kavlekar has not uttered a word of denial to The Goan or in any public forum. Wechallenge him to.

Sometimeswe wonder why do we take this course and face assaults on our character andintegrity by those who have neither. We do so to challenge the belief thatsince everyone is a crook, no one’s guilty. We also take on the powerful- andit’s not easy in a place like Goa- so that we don’t become powerless. So helpus.

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