Thursday 08 Jun 2023

Judicial probe sought into smart city works, alleged corruption

The Goan Network | MAY 26, 2023, 12:42 AM IST


The Congress has demanded an investigation by a judicial officer into the execution of “sub-standard work” of Panaji’s ‘smart city’ projects, alleging that taxpayers money is being robbed brazenly.  

Congress’ Elvis Gomes addressed a press conference on Thursday, during which he said, Panaji MLA and Revenue Minister Atanasio Monserrate has admitted that the ongoing work is substandard.  

“He is part of the government, hence when government admits corruption, then FIR should be registered against those involved,” Gomes said.  

Flanked by Congress General Secretary Vijay Bhike, North District President Virendra Shirodkar and Panjim block Mahila President Lavinia Da’costa, Gomes alleged that members of the ‘Imagine Panaji Smart city Development Ltd’ BoD are involved in this Rs 1,140 crore corruption.  

 “While carrying out work of smart city, people’s money is being robbed openly. This government has no right to continue. Monserrate and others who are involved in this can’t escape. They are part of it,” Gomes said.  

“Smart City board has all powers with regards to the project of smart city. Chief Secretary, who is chief vigilance officer of state, is chairman. Hence the question arises who will take action on whom. MLA Atanasio Monserrate is on the Board, his mayor son is on board, they all are involved in this corruption,” Gomes said.  

A former bureaucrat, Gomes pointed out that when work of such big projects is carried out, it is the duty of the concerned board to give information of development to the public.  

 “There should be a weekly ‘e-tour’ giving information of works carried out. They are required to show progress of work,” Gomes said, adding that they (Congress) had asked the Controller and Auditor General to do a special audit, but they refused which means someone directly from the Centre is interfering.  

He said that even the Registrar of companies failed to take action against the board of directors despite failing to file annual returns.   

GPCC General Secretary Vijai Bhike said that FIR should be lodged as Panaji MLA has revealed corruption taking place in the Smart City project.  

 “Panaji city will witness a disaster during monsoon as sub standard work has been done. We will launch a bicycle rally and walking tour called ‘Panaji City Darshan’ to inspect the work and spread awareness about dangerous spots to move in the city,” Bhike said. 

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