Accusing the State Government of massive corruption in the auctioning of 121 buses procured for plying in Bhubaneswar-Puri cities at throw away prices, the Odisha unit of BJP hit streets in the Capital City on Saturday.
Hundreds of activists of the saffron party under the leadership of Bhubaneswar district president Babu Singh took out a protest rally from the Mahatma Gandhi Marg in the State Capital. The protesting members went into a scuffle with the police after they tried to break barricades on the busy road.
The agitating party workers alleged that the State Government has swindled around Rs 22 crore from the State exchequer by selling the fleet of 121 city buses to Kolkata-based scrap dealers at throw away prices.
“The city buses were sold in a similar way like the bicycles under ‘Mo Cycle’ scheme which were sold for peanuts to scrap dealers in Kolkata. This is a betrayal to the people of Odisha, including Bhubaneswar. Is it possible for vehicles to become unworthy of road in just seven years time? A vehicle can run for at least 15 years without any fitness issues and around 60 per cent buses in the State are plying even after expiry of 15 years,” Singh explained.
Singh further alleged, “Each bicycle under the Mo Cycle scheme was sold for only Rs 500 in Kolkata and the city buses now also met the same fate. The third floor (third floor of Odihsa Secretariat) officials are involved in this massive irregularity. I dare the government to provide the costs at which the city buses were purchased and later disposed off,” Singh said seeking answers from the government.
BJP alleges corruption in auction of city buses, stages protest in #Bhubaneswar— OTV (@otvnews) September 4, 2021
There is a big kickback & the 3rd-floor officials are directly involved in the sale. Why the govt didn't float a public tender if it had to auction the buses: Babu Singh, #Bhubaneswar BJP president pic.twitter.com/nBaZ7qKStT
It may be noted that 121 buses were procured in 2010 for city bus services in Bhubaneswar-Puri region under JNNRUM programme. However, they were auctioned through Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Ltd (MSTC) after the RTO recommended their scrapping following inspection.
The buses were decided to be sold off after their agreement period with the DTS (Dream Team Sahara) to operate them under JNNRUM for seven years ended in 2017. The agreement was later extended for another year, General Manager of CRUT, Dipti Mohapatra had said on Friday.
CRUT, previously known as the Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Services (BPTS) manages Mo Bus service in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khordha and Puri.
“The State Government came up with Mo Cycle programme and embezzled people’s fund by buying and later selling the cycles to scrap dealers at cheap rate. Again, they launched the city bus programme and swindled public money by buying and then selling the buses at low price. The BJD-led government has deceived people by taking away their tax money and BJP is committed to safeguard the interest of the people. The party will continue its agitation path unless people get their money back,” said one of the BJP leaders in the rally.