Panaii, May 25: Alleging that taxpayers money is being robbed openly while executing substandard work of Panaji Smart City, Congress on Thursday demanded investigation by judicial officer to nab culprits involved.
Congress leader Elvis Gomes, while addressing a press conference along with General Secretary Vijay Bhike,North District President Virendra Shirodkar and Panjim block Mahila President Lavinia Da’costa in Congress House, alleged that Board members of ‘Imagine Panaji Smart city Development Ltd’ are involved in this Rs 1140 crores corruption.
“Panaji BJP MLA and Revenue Minister Atanasio Monserrate has admitted that ongoing work of Panaji ‘Smart City’ is sub-standard. He is part of the government, hence when the government admits corruption then FIR should be registered against those involved,” Gomes said.
“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 from this corruption. They are part of it,” Gomes said, adding hopes to expose them lies in judicial investigation.
“Smart City board has all powers in 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.
“We demand action. Tax payers money is robbed in a day light. It is a Rs 1140 crore scam. What has the government have done to investigate it,” he questioned.
Gomes pointed out that when work of such big projects is carried out, it was 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. Have they shown it, they never showed it,” Gomes said.
“We had asked them 50 questions in regards to the Smart City project, but no question has been answered. We had asked the Controller Auditor General to do a special audit, but they refused to do it. This means someone directly from the centre is interfering,” he said.
He said that even the Registrar of companies failed to take action against the board of directors. despite failing to file annual returns. “They should be suspended,” he said.
Elvis Gomes said that after there was ‘more to hide than reveal’ as Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri instead of addressing here, released a press note on PIB, which is the mouthpiece of the government.
“We had challenged him to have ‘Padyatra’ in Panaji city and meet people. He failed to do it. A day after Monserrate has admitted that works carried are substandard and rs 8 crore has been paid to the consultant,” he said.
“It is shameful that Puri ran away from Goa,” he said.
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 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.