Also read in

Trinamool MP Sushmita Dev alleges Bethukandi Sluice Gate was opened for ceremonial closure, Demands Investigation into funds expenditure

Trinamool Congress MP Sushmita Dev today issued a strong statement demanding a thorough investigation into the management and financial allocation related to the Bethukandi sluice gate and embankment, which failed to prevent flooding in Silchar despite significant financial investment. In a press conference held today, she also asked Water Resources Minister, Pijush Hazarika to learn about the monsoons and the effect on Barak before announcing deadlines.

During a visit to Barak Valley to assess the flood situation, Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika did not inspect the Bethukandi site, which has been a focal point of controversy and concern. Dev highlighted this omission, recalling the inauguration of the sluice gate by former MP Rajdeep Roy and MLA Silchar Dipayan Chakraborty, who celebrated the completion of the project with much fanfare. Dev said, “Despite the inauguration and an expenditure of 54 crore rupees, the sluice gate failed to function properly, allowing floodwaters to inundate the town”.

“Who worked here, how much money was spent, and how it was used needs to be investigated,” Dev demanded, questioning the efficacy and transparency of the project. She pointed out that in 2022, when the Bethukandi embankment broke, Rajdeep Roy labelled it a “man-made disaster”. “This year, the sluice gate was not working, and water entered the town again. Was this also a man-made disaster?” she asked, calling for accountability.

The Rajya Sabha MP revealed startling details about the incident, saying, “As the water level in the Barak River rose, the shutter of the Bethukandi sluice gate was initially shut in the morning. However, someone from the BJP instructed a junior employee to reopen the shutter, only for it to be ceremonially closed later by the administration and BJP members”.

“Who gave that instruction? Why was the shutter opened after being closed on time?” she questioned, emphasizing the need for a thorough inquiry into the actions and decisions taken during the flooding event.

Pijush Hazarika’s statement that there is no shortage of funds was met with criticism from Dev, who reminded him that the money is public funds. “Don’t think that this dyke is your ‘hen that lays golden eggs.’ You cannot repeatedly use public funds for the same project without proper accountability,” she asserted.

She further criticized the repeated unfulfilled promises made by government officials. “In 2022 after the floods, Hazarika promised that the work on a double-shuttering sluice gate would be completed within six months, with a budget of 10 crores. Two years later, the promise is being repeated with another deadline of one year”, she further mentioned. Dev highlighted the critical nature of understanding the monsoon season and its impact on Barak Valley, questioning the feasibility of the government’s timelines.

The residents of Silchar have been fighting for an elevated road on Shibbari Road for the past two years, a promise that remains unfulfilled, leading to a vote boycott movement, as per the Member of the Rajya Sabha. “Why should we trust the government?” Dev asked, reflecting the frustration and scepticism of the local population.

In conclusion, Sushmita Dev demanded a Chief Minister Vigilance Inquiry and a Departmental Inquiry into the financial expenditures and decision-making processes related to the Bethukandi sluice gate. “Repeatedly coming here with a new set of deadlines and making false promises must stop. We demand transparency and accountability,” she stated emphatically.

Comments are closed.