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Punjab secretary irrigation ordered to conduct probe
Tuesday, May-09-2006

LAHORE (May 09 2006): Punjab Ombudsman has directed the provincial secretary irrigation to probe into a matter pertaining to assessment of official land; and take action against the officials responsible for concealing the areas liable for assessment of 'abiana' that caused loss to public exchequer worth millions of rupees.

The Ombudsman passed these orders in a complaint filed by one Rustam Ali of Tehsil Ferozewala against the officials of irrigation department, who concealed the area liable for assessment of abiana and making assessment less than the required areas, which caused loss to public exchequer.

The Ombudsman directed the secretary irrigation to take disciplinary action against divisional canal officer Gujranwala, deputy collector, ziladar and canal patwari for concealing the area liable for assessment of abiana and making assessment on less than required areas causing loss to public exchequer over Rs 400,000 per year.

It was contended in the complaint that total abiana for his village was about Rs 500,000 but canal patwari, Akbar Ali Gondal assessed only Rs 100,000 per year. It was alleged that the patwari had waived off abiana of some landowners after obtaining bribe.

He prayed to the Ombudsman to hold inquiry and take action against the concerned officials. The irrigation department in its reply confirmed that the canal patwari concealed the area liable for assessment, which caused loss to the public exchequer.

The Ombudsman observed that this act of corruption was not possible without collusion or deliberate neglect by the supervisory officers.

By taking routine action of transferring concerned patwari and deputing an inquiry officer, attempt has been made to save other responsible officials. The ombudsman observed that assessment of government dues could not be left to the discretion of a patwari; and directed the secretary irrigation to take disciplinary action against the responsible officials.

Courtesy Business Recorder

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