Bandipora: A scam involving the Jal Shakti Department has surfaced in north Kashmir's Bandipora district where hundreds of water pipes for the local population are alleged to have been sold through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
While leaving the local population in the dark, the locals believe those involved in the scam are Sarpanchs of at least five Panchayats of Ajas Halqa and officials of the Jal Shakti Department.
As per the locals and Panchs of these Halqas, the pipes were procured by the Jal Shakti division and handed over to the PRIs to be placed or installed in those areas having issues with potable water.
Locals said that 500 water supply pipes had been given to the PRIs, however, none had been installed anywhere in these Halqas.
In a letter accessed by Greater Kashmir, the locals of Ajas have alleged that the PRIs were "hand in glove" with the Jal Shakti Department officials and the PRI members had minted money by allegedly selling these water supply pipes.
They have sought answers from the Jal Shakti Department as to why these pipes had vanished.
The locals have also sought inquiry from the Deputy Commissioner's office highlighting the allegations.
Officials said that they had received directions from the Deputy Commissioner and Additional Commissioners office to address the allegations and come up with appropriate answers.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Jal Shakti Department, Executive Engineer, Bandipora, Fida Hussain Rizvi accepted that there were allegations of a scam related to water supply pipes in Ajas.
However, he said that only one Halqa, Ajas-B was involved in the scam.
Rizvi said that a three-member inquiry committee was investigating the allegations and the report would be out in a few days.
The inquiry committee members involve officials from the Hydraulics Division of the Jal Shakti Department and other officials. Greater Kashmir has accessed the order, according to which the water supply pipes belonged to the Hydraulics Division and were meant to lift water for consumption and irrigation purposes.