Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday ordered a probe into the work done under the Gomti Riverfront project. During a review meeting of the project, the Chief Minister also directed the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee for the probe. The committee will be headed by a retired judge and a report would be submitted within 45 days. He also directed Urban Development Minister Suresh Khanna and Irrigation Minister Dharmpal Singh to monitor the work on the riverfront project on a regular basis. During the meeting, the Chief Minister was apprised that of the Rs 1,513 crore earmarked for the project, almost 95 per cent — Rs 1,435 crore — had been spent but the work completed was only 60 per cent. Expressing his dissatisfaction at this, Yogi said the probe would also cover the delay in the completion of the project and where the money was spent.
Officials presented a revised estimate of Rs 2,448 crore to the Chief Minister, after which he directed them to rethink on various works under the project, remove the unnecessary ones and complete the project at the earliest. He also observed that the pollution level was very high in the Gomti river and that if this aspect was attended to first, it would have been better. Yogi also asked the officials to set up a sewage treatment plant (STP) and directed for adequate disposal of waste and byproducts coming from various mills into the Gomti river in Pilibhit and Lakhimpur Kheri districts.
The decision does not augur well for the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government, as this project was one of the most hyped dream projects of then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. A probe, insiders say, could nail many of his associates, close officials and some party leaders. Sources say the government is in the know of large-scale irregularities in the multi-crore project and wants to establish wrong-doing through a probe committee before initiating action against the corrupt. In this way, it will not just fulfil its promise to act against graft but also weaken its political opponents, they feel.