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CAG to probe mobile phone distribution scheme in C'garh: CM

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Press Trust of India Raipur
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel Monday told the assembly an inquiry will be conducted into the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY),a mobile phone distribution scheme launched by the previous BJP government, and said corruption can't be ruled out in its implementation.
Under the scheme, launched by the Raman Singh-led BJP government, 50 lakh smartphones were to be distributed free to women and students.
"Everything related to the SKY scheme, right from tendering tothe distribution, need to be probed. We have decided to get it investigated by CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General)," said Baghel, replying to a query by a Congress MLA.
Speaking in the Question Hour, Laxmi Dhruv (Congress) sought details of the scheme like procurement of phones and their distribution.
Several remote areas don't have mobile towers and are out of network coverage. In such a scenario, what is the use of distributing mobile phones there, she said and asked whether the scheme was meant to benefit a particular company.
In his reply, Baghel said the scheme was notified for implementation on August 31, 2017 and under it, 36,65,695 mobile phones were procured in two categories from a consortium of M/s Jio Infocom and Micromax.
For the scheme, Rs 200 crore was provisioned in the budget for fiscal 2017-18 and Rs 1086.79 crore in the 2018-19 budget, he said.
As many as 29,14,845 mobile phones were given to beneficiaries, while 9,20,518 handsets remained undistributed, the chief minister added.
The Chief Minister said 'bandar-baat' (corruption) cannot be ruled out in the scheme and an inquiry will be done into it.
"It has been decided to get the scheme probed by the CAG," he added.
However, Ajay Chandrakar (BJP) countered the Chief Minister, saying no evidence of any wrongdoing in the scheme has come to light so far.
Later, speaking to reporters in the assembly premises, Baghel said, "Prima facie it seems there is a huge irregularity in the scheme.
"Tendering process, fixing rate of mobile phones, installation of mobile towers and distribution of phones under the scheme all need to be probed.
"How come private applications like NaMo and Raman apps were installed in the phone," he asked.
Soon after taking charge in December, Baghel had stopped distribution of smartphones under the scheme.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 9:05 PM IST

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