Funds al­lo­cated for re­lief to J&K flood-hit em­bez­zled: CAG

The Hitavada - - NATION -

THE Child De­vel­op­ment Project Of­fi­cer (CDPO) of Anant­nag’s Breng block has been sus­pended af­ter a ban­ner on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Pad­hao’ cam­paign fea­tured sep­a­ratist leader Asiya An­drabi as an achiever along­side Chief Min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti and other per­son­al­i­ties.

In a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for the Jammu and Kash­mir Govern­ment, the ban­ner aimed at high­light­ing the women achiev­ers of the coun­try was hoisted at a func­tion held to pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion for girls in south Kash­mir’s Kok­er­nag area.

It also fea­tured ten­nis star Sa­nia Mirza, leg­endary singer Lata Mangeshkar and Puducherry Lt Gover­nor Ki­ran Bedi among oth­ers. “The CDPO, Shamima, has been placed un­der sus­pen­sion and an in­quiry has been or­dered into the in­ci­dent,” Mo­ham­mad Yunus Malik told PTI. AN AMOUNT of Rs 1.42 crore was al­legedly em­bez­zled while Rs 12.60 crore re­mained undis­tributed from the funds sanc­tioned by the au­thor­i­ties to pay gra­tu­itous re­lief to fam­i­lies whose houses were ei­ther washed away or in­un­dated for more than a week or fully dam­aged dur­ing 2014 dev­as­tat­ing floods in this sum­mer cap­i­tal, a Comptroller and Au­di­tor Gen­eral re­port said.

The Au­dit said an amount of Rs 1.66 crore was em­bez­zled from the funds given to Sri­na­gar Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and four PWD (Roads and Build­ings) di­vi­sions of Sri­na­gar to col­lec­tion of garbage and its dis­posal in this sum­mer cap­i­tal.

The Au­dit fur­ther found that Rs 12.29 lakh was mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from the money given to pro­cure blan­kets while nearly 25 per cent of the 20,435 tents brought at a cost of Rs 2.84 crore were ly­ing unutilised. “At least 536 tents valu­ing Rs 34.04 lakh had gone miss­ing dur­ing tran­sit from Sri­na­gar, Anant­nag and Budgam,” it added.

Guide­lines for op­er­a­tion of SDRF en­vis­ages pay­ment of gra­tu­itous re­lief of Rs 1,300 per fam­ily for loss of cloth­ing and Rs 1,400 for loss of uten­sils/house­hold goods to fam­i­lies whose houses were ei­ther washed away or in­un­dated for more than a week or fully dam­aged.

The Au­dit no­ticed that re­lief amount­ing to Rs 12.60 crore was not pro­vided to 46,680 el­i­gi­ble house­holds. On the other hand, it said that gra­tu­itous re­lief of Rs 1.42 crore was pro­vided to in­el­i­gi­ble fam­i­lies (Rs 91 lakh) and to fam­i­lies not af­fected by flood (Rs 50 lakh). It added that the State Govern­ment pro­vided between Oc­to­ber 2014 to Septem­ber 2015 Rs 2.14 crore un­der the SDRF to SMC for col­lec­tion of garbage and its dis­posal at the land fill site lo­cated at Ac­chan in Sri­na­gar af­ter 2014 floods. The SMC in­curred an ex­pen­di­ture o Rs 1.37 crore on col­lec­tion of 73,435 Met­ric Tonne (MT) of garbage and its dis­posal at land­fill site dur­ing Septem­ber 17, 2014, to Novem­ber 15, 2014.

How­ever, the re­port ob­served that records showed that the num­ber of tip­per trucks and JCBs shown utilised by the SMC for garbage clear­ance in Sri­na­gar city was at vari­ance with the num­ber ver­i­fied byWard Of­fi­cers (San­i­tary In­spec­tors). Pay­ment for 441 days, 119 nights in re­spect of tip­per trucks and 102 days and 22 night in re­spect of JCBs was made in ex­cess of pay­ments ver­i­fied by Ward Of­fi­cers. The amount in­volved was Rs 31.26 lakh, it said.

While the en­tire garbage ac­cu­mu­lated due to floods in Sri­na­gar was shown as col­lected and dis­posed of by SMC, Rs 1.30 crore pro­vided to four PWD (R&B) di­vi­sions of Sri­na­gar from the SDRF for restora­tion of washed out, dam­aged roads was also shown spent on lift­ing of garbage, clear­ance of drain between Oc­to­ber 2014 and Novem­ber 2014.

“The de­tails of ve­hi­cles utilised by the Di­vi­sions for dis­posal of garbage, in­clud­ing the de­tails of agen­cies from whom they were hired, were not on record. While the PWD claimed that the san­i­ta­tion work done by them sup­ple­mented the work done by the SMC, the Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sor and Chief Ac­counts Of­fi­cer SMC stated ( June 2016) that the en­tire city had been cleaned and no area un­der SMC was left out or ig­nored dur­ing clean­li­ness drive,” it ob­served. Hence, it said the ex­pen­di­ture of Rs 1.30 crore in­cluded in the works bills for restora­tion of roads could not be ver­i­fied by au­dit. The State Govt also au­tho­rised in Septem­ber 2014 Jammu and Kash­mir In­dus­tries Lim­ited (JKI) to pro­cure blan­kets for flood vic­tims. “The JKI pro­cured 50,000 blan­kets of ap­proved spec­i­fi­ca­tions at a rate of Rs 290 per piece from two firms. Of th­ese, 36,000 blan­kets were is­sued to the Ad­di­tional Deputy Com­mis­sioner Sri­na­gar dur­ing Septem­ber 2014.

The CAG Au­dit found that Rs 12.29 lakh was mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from the money given to pro­cure blan­kets.

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