Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government is contemplating action against irregularities in the West Bengal Housing Board (WBHB) since the time of previous Left Front Government, which allegedly incurred huge loss of public money, state Housing Minister Aroop Biswas said.
"During the past two decades, big chunks of land had been handed over to the Joint Venture Companies (JVC) without tender at a very cheap rate through non-transparent agreements with the companies", Biswas added.

These agreements served the purpose of a few persons with vested interest but the state had to incur loss of a few crores of rupees of public money, the minister said.

A few constructions built under JVC have collapsed because of malpractices by promoters. As a result, the flats could not be transferred to the allottees, he said.

The department was inquiring into these cases and action would be taken against those involved in it, he said.

With the suggestion of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the department has planned to bring in certain major policy changes to bring in transparency in WBHB's work, he said.

A separate website would be opened shortly to enable people to get all information about their position in regard to allotment of flats and other details.

Stating that no one could know how lotteries were conducted by the WBHB for allotment of flats during the LF regime due to lack of transparency, the minister said now the lotteries would be done in a computerised system openly in the presence of media, dignitaries and the applicants.

If an application was rejected, the WBHB would now inform the applicant why it was not considered, which was not the case earlier, Biswas said.

The minister said all tenders of the WBHB worth over Rs two lakh would now be done through e-tendering.

Instead of only one bank, all the application forms would now be made available from at least four nationalised banks to impose transparency in the whole system, he said.

"There will be one Technical-cum-Work Committee consisting of nine members for monitoring and supervising all works of the WBHB", Biswas said.

"There will also be a nine-member Monitoring Committee to keep a tab on the works of Joint Venture Companies and Assisted Sector Companies," he said.

The minister said due to existence of the Arbitration Clause in the tenders of WBHB, the Board had to incur huge loss of public money.

"Now steps are being taken to withdraw the Arbitration Clause to check loss of public money and thus to make WBHB vibrant", Biswas added.


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