Construction activities: Contractor pays bribe to open dam in Chhattisgarh
Amit Kulkarni (name changed), owner of Niagara Constructions (name changed) in Chhattisgarh is a common contractor who has been constructing dams since the past five years. Under the Dikhra Para Aniket scheme, he was asked to construct a dam in the Surajpur division. The construction was steered to be completed three years ago. Back then, the construction was delayed by a few days. To complete the agreement and finish the paperwork, the executive engineer at the Chamber of Water Resource department, Sarjapur going by the name K M Patil asked for a bribe of Rs.12 lakh.
“The dam had been constructed within the first year of the plan itself but it did not show on the paper as the engineer did not get his share of commission,” shared Amit to I Paid A Bribe. According to Amit, the problem of getting the dam to operate without the approval of the engineer on paper is that during the rainy season, the dam will be left in ruins. He claims, “Chhattisgarh is popular for heavy rains and post monsoon, huge costs have to be undertaken for the repair works.” K M Patil is exploiting this known fact and is demanding a bribe. “The executive engineer is telling me that it is a one time investment and once his payment is settled, I will not be required to shell out anymore money for its repair. All my documents were in order and my work was in running condition. But, he denied to sign the Bill because I hadn’t paid him,” said Amit.
Amit, a civil engineer by profession says that bribes are a commonplace in the construction field. “After much negotiation, we brought the bribe amount to Rs. 8 lakh which was accepted by the engineer, K M Patil,” he mentioned. Another menace in this sector is the issue with transfer of government staff. “Government officials are often transferred every year in the month of March and it makes it all the more difficult as we have to do transactions under the table for each one of them," opines Amit.
Apparently, K M Patil never accepts cash directly with his own hands. “He has junior officers, namely K L Suryavanshi and Gatav who collect the money for him. Looks like the money does not reside with him. He takes it to Nagpur every weekend and invests it on his children,” reckons Amit.
- By Aruna Krishnan