Yogi Opens Third Eye
Adityanath government orders review of mega projects under Akhilesh’s rule
On March 28, just nine days after taking oath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath used his signature saffron gamchha to block out the putrid stench rising from the Gomti river, less than 3 km from his 5, Kalidas Marg residence in Lucknow. Shockingly, this was the state of the river after the previous Samajwadi Party government had spent Rs 1,450 crore on an ambitious project to clean up and beautify the Gomti riverfront. Adityanath was informed that another Rs 950 crore would be needed to complete the project.
Reportedly appalled at the cost and time overrun, Adityanath ordered a probe into the project. A three-man committee he set up, under retired judge Alok Kumar Singh, submitted its report on May 20. Sources say the inquiry has questioned the role of a senior cabinet minister of the Akhilesh Yadav government besides that of Alok Ranjan, former state chief secretary and head of the Project Monitoring Group, and six irrigation department engineers.
Ranjan, however, has clarified the project was on schedule when he demitted office on June 30, 2016. “As the head of the Project Monitoring Group, my role was monitoring the speed of the project and not fiscal supervision,” he says.
Insiders say the Adityanath government is exercising unusual caution before ordering action on the inquiry report. The chief minister has constituted another four-member committee, headed by urban development minister Suresh Khanna, to examine the Alok Kumar Singh committee’s report.
STENCH OF A SCAM Yogi Adityanath instructs officials after inspecting the Gomti riverfront in Lucknow