Cyclone Fani restoration: BJP sees red over relaxation of OPWD Code

Bhubaneswar: Alleging violation of model code of conduct (MCC) by the caretaker Odisha government, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today met chief secretary AP Padhi over recent changes in the Odisha Public Works Department (OPWD) code.

Senior leaders of the saffron party alleged that Odisha government relaxed provisions to grant work contracts amounting to Rs 5 lakh without tenders (with upper limit being Rs 20 lakh) towards cyclone Fani restoration work. This has been done to promote corruption through the prevalent percentage commission (PC) practice to reward BJD workers.

“This has been solely done with an intention to loot Rs 1,341 crore sanctioned by the Centre to Odisha as assistance post cyclone Fani,” said senior BJP leader Lekhashree Samantsinghar in a tweet.

The BJP delegation further alleged that the move is also to reward BJD workers and such action will impact the quality of restoration work in cyclone-hit areas. Moreover, the BJP delegation also moved the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) alleging issuance of more postal ballots than the number of government servants on election duty.

“It is alleged that a few persons on election duty have cast their votes in the booths and also through postal ballots. There is no mechanism to check such malpractices,” read the BJP memorandum submitted to the CEO.

The party further urged the CEO to take appropriate action to curb such malpractices if more postal ballot papers have been issued than the actual number of polling personnel.