GUWAHATI, Sept 23 - The Inland Water Transport Department has started inquiries into allocation of tenders granted during recent years to private operators as part of ghat settlement to run ferry services in the waterways of the State.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune today, the Director of Inland Water Transport (IWT), Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhury said that all contracts will be scrutinised to find out if any wrongdoings have occurred in award of contracts.
�At the same time, we will also recommend to the State Government if any of the rules and regulations governing the process need to be amended. The rules in this regard were framed way back in 1968 and many of them have become archaic and irrelevant. The State Government has already said that, if necessary, rules will be amended,� Dev Choudhury said.
He added that during the ongoing inquiries, gross anomalies were detected with regard to award of ghat settlement to a private lessee in the Guwahati-North Guwahati Ghat. The contract had been awarded to one Madhab Das of North Guwahati for a two- year period (2015-17) for Rs 14 lakh.
Dev Choudhury said that inspection revealed that the concerned party had forged land documents to submit the tender.
�Forgery was committed with the intention to cheat the Government. While the land patta was in the name of three persons, in the documents submitted, the patta was shown only in the name of Das himself. It is a clear case of forgery,� he said.
The IWT Director filed an FIR against the concerned party yesterday at the Paltan Bazar police station.
He, however added that ferry services in the Guwahati-North Guwahati section will not be affected as the department will run the boats till alternative arrangements are made.
Across the State, private operators have been leased settlements in 92 ghats, while in one other the service is operated departmentally.
Meanwhile, senior officials told this newspaper that lot of anomalies took place in ghat settlement during the term of the previous Government.
�The officials and staff of the department are supposed to verify documents and look into all the aspects before awarding contracts. But in many cases, it did not happen. So the new Government has now decided to scrutinise the entire process and take corrective measures,� said an official who did not wished to be named.