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JK govt failed to complete projects under NRDWP, PMGSY: CAG

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Jammu: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the Jammu and Kashmir government for its failure to complete various projects under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) during 2017-18.

In its audit report on social, general, economic (non-Public Sector Undertakings) sectors for the year ended March 31, 2018, the CAG said against the target for completion of 1,067 Water Supply Schemes (WSSs) during 2013-18, only 679 schemes (64 percent) have been completed under the NRDWP.

“Non-completion of 388 (36 percent) schemes impacted the process of providing potable drinking water to population of 5.67 lakh,” the report, tabled in Parliament recently, said.

It said the year-wise shortfall in achievement of targets for providing water supply in government schools during 2013-14 to 2016-17 ranged between 10 to 29 percent.

“Just nine anganwadi centers had been provided with the facility of drinking water during the period 2013-15 and department had not fixed any targets in this regard from 2014-15 onwards.”

Under the PMGSY, which was launched in December 2000 to provide connectivity by way of an “all weather road” to eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas, the report said, out of sanctioned 1,769 road projects involving road length of 9,383.07 kms under construction during 2013-18, only 810 road projects (46 percent) having a road length of 4,172.50 kms were completed as of March 2018.

“The year-wise completion rate of road projects during 2013-18 ranged between 8 to 19 percent. Due to problems in land acquisition and forest clearance 467 road projects (road length: 2,577.88 km) sanctioned prior to April 2013 for connecting 175 habitations were still incomplete as of March 2018,” the report said.

The NRDWP was launched as a flagship programme for providing safe drinking water to the rural population on a sustainable basis.

“There was a delay ranging between 7 and 67 days in release of funds amounting to Rs 871.87 crore received during 2014-17 by the State Finance Department to the State Water Sanitation Mission (SWSM)/Administrative Department… Scrutiny of the records of Administrative Department and six out of 14 sampled divisions revealed that the interest of Rs 1.74 crore earned during 2013-14 to 2017-18 on programme and support funds were not accounted for in the books/accounts for working out the total availability of the funds,” it said.

In 14 sampled divisions, it said 657 schemes estimated to cost Rs 1,415.37 crore were taken up for execution without the accord of Administrative Approval (AA) and Technical Sanction (TS) and an expenditure of Rs 830.11 crore was incurred on these schemes.

“Water samples in respect of 30 to 48 percent sources were only tested during 2013-14 to 2017-18. Further, against the required 7,66,326 water samples to be tested during 2013-18, only 5,60,331 (73 percent) samples were tested, and the break-up of bacteriological examination and chemical contamination was not available separately,” it said.

The report said planning for implementation of the PMGSY in J&K was deficient as District Rural Road Plan was neither prepared in most of the sampled Programme Implementation Units (PIUs) nor approved from the intermediate Panchayat/District Panchayat/District Rural Development Department and State Level Standing Committee.

“Core Network did not cover all the eligible habitations, inadmissible road projects were included in the Core Network and road projects which were not in Core Network were taken up for execution.  Out of total sanction of programme fund of Rs 8,892.69 crore during 2000-01 to 2017-18 (January 2018) under Phases I to XI, GoI released Rs 5,092.14 crore against which Rs 4,312.41 crore was spent, as of March 2018,” the CAG said, adding the closing balance at the end of each of the financial year during 2015-18 ranged between Rs 128 crore to Rs 1,046 crore.

It said due to poor progress in completion of road projects, balance fund of Rs 1,494.60 crore under Phases-VI, VII and IX was not released by the government of India.

“Against due State share of Rs 252 crore, the State Government released Rs 155 crore during 2015-18, leaving a balance of Rs 97 crore,” it said, adding against the demand of Rs 36.22 crore placed by Jammu and Kashmir State Rural Roads Development Agency (JKSRRDA), the state government released only Rs 8.12 crore (22 percent). “The percentage of utilisation of funds was very poor and ranged between 6 to 30 percent, during 2013-18.”

Out of 2,738 unconnected habitations as of April 2000, the report said, a total of 1,694 (62 percent) habitations were connected during 2000-2018 and 1,044 (38 percent) habitations remained to be connected at the end of March 2018. It added as against target for coverage of 572 sanctioned habitations with population of 1,000 and above by the year 2003, 506 habitations were provided connectivity as of March 2018.

In nine sampled districts, 254 road projects, sanctioned at a cost of Rs 1,031.35 crore on which expenditure of Rs 514.62 crore was incurred, were allotted at a cost of Rs 935.96 crore without Administrative Approval and Technical Sanction from the competent authority, the CAG said.

It said no Action Taken Reports (ATRs) were submitted by any of the PIUs in respect of 492 inspections conducted by the State Quality Monitors (SQMs) during 2013-14 to 2017-18, wherein 159 inspections were graded as ‘un-satisfactory’ and the remaining 333 ‘required improvement’, while in eight sampled districts, ATRs in respect of 221 inspections conducted were awaited from PIUs.

“J&K deprived of Central sugar subsidy of Rs 62.79 crore”

Srinagar: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has found that Jammu and Kashmir government has incurred an extra expenditure of over nine crore rupees on sugar procurement.

According to the CAG’s audit report, the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department’s failure to procure sugar for public distribution at lowest rates led to the extra burden of Rs 9.23 crore on the government exchequer.

According to the report, the State Level Purchase Committee (SLPC) in the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, while evaluating (September 2015) tenders for procurement of sugar for the period October 2015 to September 2016 noticed that the lowest bidder had offered the rate of Rs 39,870 per MT.

After negotiations, the bidder agreed on a negotiated rate of Rs 38,600 per MT and the committee referred the matter to the Finance Department for their concurrence.

The Finance Department declined its concurrence and informed in October 2015 that budgetary provisions for subsidizing sugar could not be increased under any circumstances and the department needs to consider either re-tendering or find an alternate mechanism for purchase of sugar through some Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and ensure that price of sugar is equal to or less than the prevailing market rate.

The report said that it was also suggested that the department can devise a mechanism whereby the Central subsidy of Rs  18.50 per kilogram available can be transferred to the eligible consumers’ accounts and allow them to purchase from open market, which would prevent leakages and reduce the administrative costs.

“It was observed from minutes of meeting dated 19.11.2015 that the Directors of Jammu and Kashmir, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, who were members of SLPC expressed their disagreement on direct transfer of subsidy as digitalized, know your consumer (KYC) details of beneficiaries were not available,” the report said.

The audit notice that the instructions of the Finance Department were not followed and the department extended the existing contract for procurement of sugar at the rate of Rs 36,860 per MT for next three months from October 2015 to December 2015.

“The department procured 20,955 MTs of sugar at the rate of Rs 36,860 per MT during November 2015 to March 2016. Records also showed that the department had invited (May 2016) e-tenders for procurement of sugar and the lowest bidder had quoted the rate of Rs 43,370 per MT, which was negotiated to Rs 42,900 per MT. However, without seeking the concurrence of the Finance Department before the approval of rate, the department procured 29,940.412 MTs of sugar at the rate of Rs 42,900 per MT during June 2016 to September 2016,” the report said.

The report states that a comparison of procurements made by the department during November 2015 to March 2016 and June 2016 to September 2016 with reference to the rate of Rs 38,600 per MT negotiated with the lowest bidder in the initial tendering process was not adopted, and thus the department incurred an extra expenditure of Rs 9.23 crore.

“The departmental failure to procure sugar for public distribution at lowest rates led to minimum extra outgo of Rs 9.23 crore on the government exchequer,” it said.

It was also noticed in audit that against the Central sugar subsidy of Rs 154.55 crore due to the state at the rate of Rs 18,500 per MT for the annual procurement of 83,544 MTs of sugar for Targeted Public Distribution System during October 2015 to September 2016, only Rs 91.76 crore were received.

“This was owing to the delay in finalizing the procurement. Thus, the State was not only deprived of Central sugar subsidy of Rs 62.79 crore, but also sugar could not be distributed to consumers through targeted public distribution system for around five months,” it added. (KNO)

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