GUWAHATI, June 29 - The Assam Information Commission has recently directed the Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department to look into the matter of Panitola CHC and file an affidavit before the Commission about the action taken latest by July 31.
The Commission gave the order after hearing a second petition of appellant Anil Kr Baruah regarding apparent irregularities in the ‘go-ahead’ order of the Health and Family Welfare department for the completion of the half-done work of Panitola CHC without administrative approval and sanction, and also delay of about 15 years in clearing the contractor’s dues.
The Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department, vide a letter issued on April 7, 2001, had requested the Commissioner and Secretary, PWD, to complete the half-done work of CHC building of Panitola with an amount of Rs 30 lakh. But there was no mention of administrative approval or sanction, although there was an assurance that fund for the work would be provided under PMGY. Accordingly, the PWD went ahead with the work.
On September 2, 2002, Chief Engineer, PWD (Building), wrote to the Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department that 20 per cent work of the Panitola CHC was already completed, but the work was yet to be sanctioned. To avoid embarrassment, the Chief Engineer requested the Health and Family Welfare Department to communicate sanction of Rs 30 lakh and to release fund to avoid difficulties related to construction and contract. This was followed by several requests from the PWD to the Health and Family Welfare Department on this issue.
The RTI petitioner, who happened to be the contractor of the work, had stopped the execution of the work after achieving 40 per cent progress and finally filed a writ petition before the Gauhati High Court. The PWD moved the Health and Family Welfare department several times for administrative approval for clearing the contractor’s dues in compliance with the High Court’s order issued on September 29, 2008. But, till date, no post facto administrative approval has been accorded.
State Chief Information Commissioner HS Das has directed the SPIO and the Deputy Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department to furnish information sought by the petitioner within 30 days from the receipt of the order, an official release said on Wednesday.