No departmental files sent to me: Delhi irrigation minister Saurabh Bharadwaj

Bharadwaj said since taking charge of the department, no files relating to the department had been sent to him by the department's principal secretary Ashish Kundra

Delhi irrigation minister Saurabh Bharadwaj (pictured) seems at loggerheads with his principal secretary (photo: IANS)
Delhi irrigation minister Saurabh Bharadwaj (pictured) seems at loggerheads with his principal secretary (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Responding to the BJP’s allegations against the Delhi government's irrigation and flood control (IFC) department, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said since taking charge of the department, no files relating to the department had been sent to him by the department's principal secretary Ashish Kundra.

“Since taking charge in March 2023, no files related to the department, whether for administrative approval, n-principle approval, payment processing, or completion of tasks is being sent to me,” Bhardwaj alleged.

He added that upon assuming the role of IFC minister, he had observed that no files related to departmental activities requiring administrative or in-principle approval were being sent to him.

In a written note, he had questioned why no files were being sent to the minister for in-principle approvals, and even issued directives to Kundra, instructing that all files related to projects valued at more than Rs 25 lakh should be sent to the minister for in-principle approval.

This was to ensure that the minister is at least aware of the projects being undertaken by the IFC department of the Delhi government using public funds.

Bharadwaj revealed that it was extremely surprising for everyone to learn that Kundra did not respond to the note. Instead, the file was forwarded to Ashish Chandra Varma, the principal secretary of the finance department, for his opinion.

Bharadwaj alleged that "in connivance", Kundra and Varma declared in writing that Kundra had the authority to approve projects worth up to Rs 50 crore. Consequently, files related to any project costing up to Rs 50 crore would not be sent to the minister.

Hitting out at the BJP-led Union government, Bharadwaj said it was unfortunate that laws made by the government and "the handpicked Delhi lieutenant-governor" were preventing files related to any project worth up to Rs 50 crore from being sent to the minister in-charge for administrative approval or in-principle approval, or any other clearance. "Neither are the files for payment processing sent to the minister," he said.

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