Rashid Paul

HC seeks details of officials involved in Handwara Water Supply scam

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Srinagar, Oct 22: In the multicrore Handwara Water Supply scam, the J&K High Court Monday directed for submitting the details of officials involved in stealing the public money meant for providing safe drinking water to the inhabitants of the far-off areas of north Kashmir.

The court directed that the particulars and details of the erring officials involved in the scam be furnished to the court by or before the next hearing.

The Vigilance Organization Kashmir (VOK) in its report submitted to the court today said prima facie the officials in the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, Handwara division, have committed various irregularities and bunglings estimating crores of rupees.

The attention of the court was drawn to the report wherein names of the erring officials had not been spelled out and the bench instantly called for complete profile of the involved officers.

Meanwhile the court imposed a penalty of Rs 5000 each on various State government departments including Horticulture, Floriculture, Fisheries, Pollution Control Board, Health Department as well as Geology and Mining for not obeying the court directions.

The departments were in a previous direction asked to submit the status report indicating therein the number and locations of all the toilets/latrines identified on the banks of all ‘nallas’, rivers, streams and tributaries — the main sources of drinking water for the general public.

The trial into the Handwara PHE case is already pending before Special Anti-corruption Court Kashmir against officers and officials allegedly involved in embezzlement of public money meant for providing potable water to people in Handwara, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was been initiated after complaints that Rs 45 crores disbursed by the State government for providing safe drinking water to the people living in hilly areas through various schemes have been embezzled by the officials of the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department.

The government has already been directed to inform the court as to whether any disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the officials who have been found se culpable in the acts of omission and commission with regard to the funds and schemes.

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