What was Gomti River Front Development scam?

Officials of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are conducting raids across several districts in Uttar Pradesh in connection with alleged scam in Gomti River Front Development Project.

Key Points

  • Raids were conducted at 40 locations across 13 districts including Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Agra.
  • There are alleged irregularities in Rs 1,600 crore Gomti riverfront development project.
  • Former engineers, superintending engineers, other engineers of irrigation department of state, private contractors and businessmen have been named as accused.
  • This is the second probe initiated by CBI in project scam. First case was registered in December 2017 on the recommendations of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Uttar Pradesh government.

Background

Gomti Riverfront Development Project This project was launched in 2015 by previous Samajwadi Party led Uttar Pradesh government with Akhilesh Yadav as chief minister. Many prominent environmentalists have pointed out that the project was seen as an interference in river systems.

Controversy surrounding the project

Gomti riverfront development project is controversial as the Gomti river has been stressed in and around Lucknow. Three major issues with the project are:

  1. Construction of high embankments around the Gomati River to protect population of Lucknow is altering river’s natural floodplain.
  2. Gomti River has 40 natural drains. 23 of them are major. Drains were carrying surplus water into river during monsoon and recharged underground water table. But now those drains are carrying residential and industrial sewage into river.
  3. River’s floodplains and fertile land were covered with residential areas, including Gomti Nagar and Triveni Nagar. But Gomti River started receding during late 1970s. In 2016, it was under major stress.

Gomti River

It is a tributary of Ganges. As per Hindu beliefs, river is daughter of Rishi Vashisht and bathing in Gomti river on Ekadashi can wash away sins.

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