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 per cent) have been completed under the NRDWP.
Non-completion of 388 (36 per cent) 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 per cent) 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 per cent. 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 per cent 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 per cent) 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 per cent). "The percentage of utilisation of funds was very poor and ranged between 6 to 30 per cent, during 2013-18.
Out of 2,738 unconnected habitations as of April 2000, the report said, a total of 1,694 (62 per cent) habitations were connected during 2000-2018 and 1,044 (38 per cent) 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.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.