Finance commission funds diverted to rural mission policy
The urban and rural regeneration mission which was launched by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was aimed at the infrastructural development of the rural and urban areas of the state.
But the project has led to mismanagement of the 14th finance commission funds, provided by the central government, exclusively for village area development.
After sanctioning a certain amount for rural regeneration project, only in papers, Punjab Infrastructure Development Authority (PIDB) has asked the executive authorities, to use the fund that they received from the 14th finance commission under the rural development project.
The village panchayats have total autonomy on development or repair work.
The panchayats used the commission fund that the Central government send to the rural government directly.
The funds released by Punjab Infrastructure Development Authority under the Urban Rural Regeneration Mission is only meant to be utilised for new infrastructure.
Jalandhar district, with 899 villages, had received two of the three instalments of ₹14 crore each from the finance commission, last year.
Another factor that has attributed to the mismanagement is the distribution of fund under the rural project.
While the grant of 14th finance commission is distributed as per the population of a village.
The funds sanctioned for the rural areas are as per the proposal submitted by respective area MLAs.
As the central fund was used in PIDB work, the villages will comparatively more population got a fair share of funds under the scheme.
While village with less population and more proposed work witnessed a shortage of funds.
Officials in the district administration said that they have properly channelised the funds and development work is being carried out without obstruction.
Of ₹134.82 crore that was provided for rural development in Jalandhar, the administration has so far received ₹85 crore from PIDB.
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Girish Dayalan said that 1,728 works, at the cost of ₹39.5 crore, has been completed while there are 2,595 ongoing works.