While the state is reeling under the fiasco of the crumbling 89 multi-purpose halls (MPHs) constructed all over Odisha at a cost of more than Rs.600 that put a question mark on the much trumpeted ‘transparency’ of the 5T, new information coming to light directly point a finger at the engineer in chief (EIC) of the works department
As per available reports, the sports department has taken cognizance of the complaints of the public and asked for answers to some pointed questions that the works department has reportedly found difficult to answer.
The new information indicates that the EIC of the works department is allegedly at the centre of the web of malafide decisions that resulted in the reportedly poor workmanship and worse. There are also allegations that the EIC himself has a record of poor workmanship either because of incompetence or because of corrupt practices. Records show that he was reportedly shunted out from the post of assistant executive engineer in charge of a bridge construction in 2004 when a high-level committee identified serious quality issues in the work done there.
Sources say that he was forced to cool his heels in back office postings but his skill in effective lobbying helped him attract the attention of an EIC of that time, which resulted in his posting to the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation. There are also reports that the EIC of that time was infamous for collapse of bridges in Odisha and perhaps found in the present EIC traits that matched his own and were suitable for his questionable practices. It is clear that the present EIC had an impressive growth under the previous EIC’s patronage and his previous blemished records were pushed under the carpet.
Troubling Past of EIC Comes to Light
Observers say that he is still carrying on the practice of encouraging poor workmanship by posting persons of questionable competence to important posts. It was reported earlier that in spite of many qualified engineers available with suitable seniority, he has kept control of the post of the chief engineer, a post below his present designation, though he is seen as not having the required technical competence. Incidentally, that is stated as the reason for the sad state of the MPHs.
But without bothering about the allegations, he has gone ahead with posting an engineer of poor experience, who is said to be his cousin, at a division of significance that handles the crucial work. Interestingly, she is reported to have been relieved from her responsibilities at a place in one of the far flung districts on the same date on which she joined in her new post in Bhubaneswar. People in the know are still trying to figure out the logistics that allowed her to manage this feat.
Transparency and Teamwork Suffer
The impression of the observers keenly watching the developments is that transparency and teamwork have been victim of skewed decisions and manipulations of people in power at different levels of the government and, sadly, the much hyped 5T has done nothing to improve the situation.