STATE TIMES NEWS
UDHAMPUR: Seeking high- level and independent probe into the construction of Devika Project in the Udhampur district, former MLA Balwant Singh Mankotia on Thursday alleged large scale ‘loot’ and conspiracy to settle Rohingyas and Bangladeshi immigrants, working as skilled and unskilled workforce at the site.“The ongoing execution of work is being carried out mindlessly, without any concern for ecology, as a result of which the shopkeepers in the adjacent areas are forced to inhale dust all the time”, Mankotia said, while expressing solidarity with the protesting shopkeepers.The shopkeepers, wearing black badges, are currently staged protests at Ramnagar Chowk against the construction agency.Mankotia said that the shopkeepers are already braving the brunt of the corona pandemic and now they have been forced to suffer due to dust in the wake of sub-standard construction, which has the potential of spreading diseases. Due to this malady, the business activities in Udhampur city have virtually come to standstill, he added.Mankotia said that the company engaged for the construction of the project is being blamed for ignoring the norms, with the administration unmoved. Nobody is ready to take any cognizance even after a series of protests in this regard, he added.Citing examples of mismanagement, Mankotia said that even a pipe is being uprooted three or four times and the vandalised lanes were not repaired by undertaking improvement work. These lanes have been vandalized nearly three years ago and still present a pathetic look besides causing obstacles to the pedestrians and residents. The condition of the market particularly presents a pitiable scenario for the past seven months, he added.Mankotia suspected a conspiracy of settling Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in Udhampur by engaging them for the project work, ignoring the huge skilled and unskilled force available locally. The youth too have been protesting over the callous attitude of the construction company as well as the concerned governmental agency, he added.Mankotia alleged a scam of crores in the name of Devika Project, saying there is possibility of involvement of many big officials and leaders in the wrong doing.Mankotia said that playing with the lives of people of Udhampur is unacceptable and a demonstration will be held at Udhampur’s Dabbar Park on Saturday, June 19. He appealed to the general public and shopkeepers of Udhampur to join the protest.He urged the people to raise their voice unitedly against the loot being committed in the name of Devika Project.
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