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Minister Chandan Brahma must answer for misuse of Rs. 300 cr meant for plain tribes & backward classes: Assam Public Works

GUWAHATI: The Assam Public Works (APW), the original petitioners of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) today made a series of shocking allegations against Minister Chandan Brahma, who heads the Department of Welfare of Plain Tribes & Backward Classes (WPT&BC), and claimed anomalies to the tune of Rs. 300 crore in the aforesaid department.

“Minister Chandan Brahma and his two OSDs released Rs. 300 crore in a single day. The Chief Minister should see whether the money has actually been spent in purchasing items for plain tribes and backward classes. Why are the items that were bought with the money and are allegedly gathering rust being released to the people,” said Dhrubajyoti Talukdar, the General Secretary of the APW.

Dhrubajyoti Talukdar, questioning why Rs. 300 crore was released to contractors, said, “During 2018-19 and 2019-20, there has been massive corruption in the department to the tune of Rs. 300 crore, the beneficiaries have not received their dues.”

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The APW has claimed that in the financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20, tenders worth over Rs 300 crore were invited for the supply of various items for the beneficiaries.

The WPT&BC directed the contractors to supply the items within a stipulated period along with bills to get the specific amount from the department. The work order was allotted from February 20, 2019 to February 28, 2020.

However, after the release of the work order, the entire amount was released among the contractors within a month, the APW alleges.
Talukdar claimed that the “scam” in the department is still underway. “They have claimed that the items meant for beneficiaries have been kept in the district offices. However, the items are yet to be given to the downtrodden and backward people of the state who are meant to benefit.”

Talukdar also claimed that another scam is underway in the same department. “The tenders have already been signed, but they cannot name any of the beneficiaries. Although I cannot say exactly how much money is being spent this time, we can say that it is close to the amount the that was spent earlier.”

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He said that the APW has demanded the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to conduct inquiries.

He further demanded Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take action against Minister Chandan Brahma over the alleged scam in the department. “Why are investigations not being carried out when the contractors’ pockets are being filled with money? We are pointing our fingers — kindly carry out the investigations. He (Himanta Biswa) has claimed that during the Dwijing Festival, Chandan Brahma wasted around Rs. 15 crores on liquor and gambling. We are alleging that he has wasted Rs. 300 meant for plain tribes and backward classes — why is that not being investigated?,” Talukdar questioned.

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