Odisha BJP alleges massive irregularities in LAccMI; seeks probe by Lokpal, ED

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today alleged several irregularities in the implementation of Location Accessible Multi-modal Initiative (LAccMI) in Odisha.

The Opposition party alleged massive financial irregularities as well as money laundering in the implementation of LAccMI in Odisha and sought appropriate probe in this regard by the Lokpal and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

BJP leader Anil Biswal claimed that the state government has provided around Rs 1,000 crore to the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) for purchasing buses for implementation of LAccMI scheme. However, the ownership of the buses was vested with some private agencies, engaged by the state government to manage the vehicles plying under the scheme.

“The Commerce and Transport department of Odisha government has provided money to the OSRTC for purchasing around 1,700 buses under LAccMI. However, the buses have been purchased under the ownership of a few private agencies, engaged by the state government to manage the vehicles. Tax payers’ money has been utilized for procurement of buses but the ownership of the vehicles has been vested with the private agencies in violation of the norms,” alleged Biswal in a presser at BJP headquarters here today.

The BJP leader further claimed that the state government is providing around Rs 80 to Rs 90 per 1 km as fare to the private parties engaged to manage the buses. “The state government is paying the entire fare for running the buses under LAccMI. But, the government is asking people to pay Rs 5 as bus fare instead of providing them free travel,” he said.

The BJP leader claimed that the Finance Minister had announced the LAccMI scheme in the Odisha Budget 2023-24. The Finance Minister had then announced that the state government would hire buses from private owners to provide better communication facility to the rural people and a sum of Rs 100 crore would be spent on the purpose. “But, the state government did not hire buses from private owners. It spent around Rs 1,000 crore for purchasing new buses. Besides, the government has also allocated Rs 1,000 crore more for LAccMI scheme in 2024-25 fiscal. They have already purchased around 1,700 buses then what is the need of such massive allocation. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government owes an answer in this regard to the people of Odisha,” Biswal said.

According to the BJP leader, the BJD government had launched the Biju Gaon Gadi Yojana around a decade ago with an allocation of Rs 8 crore. The motive of the scheme was similar to that of the LAccMI. But, the cost has escalated to Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 crore in a decade, he added.

“We suspect massive financial and other irregularities in the implementation of LAccMI. The Lokpal should look into the issue. Besides, the ED should launch a probe under money laundering aspect,” said the BJP leader.

Notably, the Odisha government has launched the LAccMI to provide better communication from gram panchayats to block headquarters, from block headquarters to district headquarters and from district headquarters to the state capital.

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