Sinlung /
17 October 2012

Loktak Lake Scam: Investigation Demanded

In April 2010, Tehelka had exposed the corruption in the 224-crore project to clean up the Loktak lake in Manipur
By Sabika Abbas

Flashpoints The eye of the storm, the Loktak Lake

Photo: AFP Both Congress high command and Manipur government continue to maintain silence even as clamour for an inquiry into Loktak Lake scam increases. Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be set up immediately to probe into the findings of the Tehelka expose.

“I have travelled extensively around the area where Loktak Lake is situated and couldn’t see even a fourth of rupee spent from the crores that were granted for cleaning up the Lake. No money has been spent on the rehabilitation of people living in areas near the infested lake”, says senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar. The clean-up project involves removing 132.94 lakh cubic metres of thick biomass, ‘phumdis’, from the lake.
Main Opposition party in Manipur, Trinamool Congress has also joined the chorus. “Our MPs will raise the issue in the Parliament”, asserted Kim Kangte, Trinamool Congress chief for Manipur. She stated that a joint-party meeting had taken place to look into the matter. “There is no doubt about the fact that the Congress party is directly involved in this multi-crore scam” she said.

Apart from political parties, civil society organisations in Manipur have also joined in. On 15 October, International Peace and Social Advancement, IPSA and the Ethno Heritage Council (HERICOUN) issued separate press releases demanding that the CBI be called in to investigate into the case.
In April 2010, TEHELKA had reported how a company that existed only on paper was awarded a Rs 224 crore contract to clean up the Loktak Lake (The Lake and the Fake Firm) in Manipur. Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, who is also the chairman of the Loktak Development Authority, had rubbished TEHELKA’s findings and claimed the process of selecting K-Pro Infra Works Private Ltd, the company that was awarded the contract, was fair and transparent. In an article published last week (The dirty clean-up work), TEHELKA reported that two years later, new documents give the lie to the CM’s claim and prove that the lake project is characterised by undue favours and flagrant violations of government norms.

Source: Tehelka


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