Srinagar- The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its latest audit report, has picked up some serious gaps and loopholes in five Development projects for the erstwhile state of J&K, that may have thwarted the infrastructural development of J&K.
In its report on implementation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), the CAG has said that the Development projects include sectors relating to Tourism, Agriculture, Horticulture, Urban Development along with the funding for Externally Aided Projects.
Notably, there are 13 projects for J&K with a total project outlay of 5,521 crore in this sector and out of these 13 projects, five projects that have an outlay of 2,285 crore were selected by CAG for test check in Audit report.
As per CAG, against the total project cost of 2,285 crore for the five selected projects, an amount of 1,470.06 crore was released and an expenditure of 1,309.51 crore had been incurred with an unutilised balance of 160.55 crore (11 per cent) as of 31 March 2019.
“During the period from 2015-2016 to 2018-2019, funds ranging between 13.76 crore and 194.63 crore had remained unutilised with the Mission Director of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation(AMRUT).” The CAG report reads. “Further, project funds ranging between 25.48 crore to 54.73 crore were lying unutilised with six designated offices of Mission cities/ implementing agencies at the close of each year during the period from 2015-2016 to 2018-2019 resulting in blockage of funds. Against the availability of 181.86 crore during the year
2019-20, an amount of 141.73 crore was released by the Mission Director, leaving a balance of 40.13 crore unutilised as of 31 March 2020.”
The CAG report has also revealed that the designated offices of the Mission cities of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Director ULB Kashmir and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Leh hasn’t maintained separate accounts of scheme funds, as per the scheme guidelines.
“As a result, the expenditure incurred by the designated officers of Mission cities and implementing agencies under the scheme during the period 2015 to 2019 was not available either with the Mission Director or at Administrative Department level.” The report reads. “The fact remains that work on the project was still incomplete, as of November 2020.”
As per CAG, the works under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission projects for Jammu and Kashmir selected for test check with an estimated cost 221.65 crore of the Mission executed by the State/ UT Government were not complete.
“As of March 2020 due to non-acquisition of land, non-finalisation of contracts, delayed process in settlement of issues and incorporation of additional components of works of these projects, has led to non-completion of the project.”
Pertinently, the CAG has also held J&K Government responsible for failing to constitute a Local Level Steering Committee (LLSC) that could have to facilitate interaction between JKERA and participating agencies for selection of sub-projects and review their scope for projects under the Jammu and Kashmir Urban Sector Development Investment Programme (JKUSDIP).
“Neither were these committees formed nor was a shelf of projects framed in coordination with the line Departments for placing it before the LLSC. As a result, sub-projects were randomly taken up for execution, without prioritizing these as per specific needs of the state.” The CAG report reads.
The report has also revealed that there was a delay in sanction of funds, the utilization certificates for the remaining amount had not been submitted by JKERA, diversion of funds, faulty estimates and unadjusted advances had hampered the implementation of the programme.
As per CAG, for the construction of Government Tourist assets in lieu of damaged/ destroyed assets, the J&K Tourism Department did not formulate a plan for operation and maintenance of its tourist assets. “As of September 2020, out of 23 sub-projects, 15 sub-projects had been completed and one sub-project was dropped while seven sub-projects were under Execution.” The report reads.
It is pertinent to mention here that a comprehensive reconstruction plan for the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, was announced by the Prime Minister of India on 07 November 2015. The Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), included 63 projects with a total outlay of 80,068 crore under the following five sectors including Humanitarian Relief, Crisis Management, Social Infrastructure, Development Projects and Economic Infrastructure.
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