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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightRs 55 crore in...

Rs 55 crore in electoral bonds donated to BJP by Silkyara tunnel construction firm

Rs 55 crore in electoral bonds donated to BJP by Silkyara tunnel construction firm

The Hindu photo.

New Delhi: The Election Commission disclosed data indicating that Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd (NEC), constructing the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarakhand, a part of which collapsed last year, bought Rs 55 crore worth of electoral bonds and contributed the whole sum to the BJP.

When a section of the tunnel under construction collapsed on November 12, 2023, a total of 41 workmen were left trapped. On November 28, the labourers were rescued.

The Silkyara-Barkot tunnel project -- cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in 2018 -- was to be completed in 2022, but its deadline has been extended.

NEC purchased 55 electoral bonds of Rs 1 crore each between April 19, 2019 and October 10, 2022.

Navayuga Engineering, the flagship company of the Navayuga Group, is an engineering and core infrastructure company, according to information posted on the company's website.

The company said it has constructed the Dhola-Sadia Bridge -- the country's longest river bridge -- over the Brahmaputra River, spanning a total of 9.15 km.

NEC also claimed that it was entrusted with the responsibility of constructing the Polavaram Project by the Andhra Pradesh government.

As per the NEC's website, it is responsible for many iconic projects, including bridges over the Ganga, the Quazigund to Banihal Highway project to ensure all-weather connectivity to north Kashmir through Pir Panjal Pas, a road prone to closure due to severe weather conditions.

The Silkyara-Barkot tunnel is a single-tube tunnel divided into two inter-connected corridors by a partition wall. Each inter-connector corridor can work as an escape passage for the other.

The 4.5 km tunnel project in Uttarakhand, which is part of the Centre's 900 km Char Dham Yatra All Weather Road, aims to improve connectivity to the four pilgrimage sites.

A query sent to Navayuga Engineering did not elicit any response.

The electoral bond scheme was announced by then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2017-18, pitching it as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency to political funding.

Under the scheme, the name of the donor is known only to banks. Electoral bonds are encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank.

However, the Supreme Court in February directed the State Bank of India, which was the designated lender for issuing these bonds, to disclose details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties.

While directing SBI, the Supreme Court also annulled the electoral bonds scheme for political funding, saying it violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to information.

With PTI inputs

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TAGS:BJPSilkyara tunnelElectoral bond
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