Uttarakhand finally cracks down on corruption: Power Corp MD sacked

Dehradun : Though it appeared that Uttarakhand may never actually wake up to cleansing the system of the deeply rooted corruption prevalent in this small mountain state, the present Congress-led government headed by chief minister Vijay Bahuguna has taken the first step.

In an action indicating that he intends coming down with a heavy hand on the corrupt, the government removed managing director of the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), A K Jain against whom there were allegations of various acts of corruption.

Various allegations had been leveled against Jain some of which include of patronizing favourites and not following established norms and rules while allotting tenders; financial irregularities in the purchase of power; misuse of his official position as MD of the Corporation and bunglings in the purchase of transformers and cables.

According to reports the government ordered a probe into the purchase of 2000 transformers in which not only were some misgivings alleged in the bidding process, but the transformers were also found to be sub standard.

In another allegation relating to purchase of cables worth crores it was found rather than the single core 240 sq mm cable which was to be supplied, an inferior quality 120 sq mm cable was reportedly purchased.

When the matter was raised, fresh orders were supplied where again faulty cables were said to have been supplied.

Jain, said to be a favourite of the previous BJP regime and was supposed to retire sometime in July this year, has been replaced by director (operations) A K Johri.

However, what the people of this small mountain state are keen to observe is whether the sacking of Jain will become an isolated issue in the all-round corruption that has manifested in Uttarakhand over the years, or will there be more of such termination of services at various levels of hierarchy in the bureaucracy to send the message that enough is enough and it is time for operation clean up to percolate down till the grass roots of babudom.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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