(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
KO File Photo By Abid Bhat
Jammu- The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has pulled up the Jammu and Kashmir home department for failing to utilise over Rs 500 crore funds sanctioned under the Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP) to procure high-end security system to maintain law and order in the union territory.
The CAG, in its report, has taken a serious note of the home department's single-vendor purchases without ascertaining the reasonability of rates and avoidable expenditures in purchase of the high-end security system.
Under the PMDP, the central government had sanctioned over Rs 500 crore for procurement of high-end security system to maintain law and order in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016-2017, of which only 52 percent of funds were utilised by 2019, the report said.
'During the period from 2016 to 2019, the government of Jammu and Kashmir released Rs 501.86 crore, out of which an expenditure of Rs 261.96 crore (52 per cent) was incurred by the (home) department,' the CAG said.
The report further said that the percentage of expenditure vis-a- vis funds available during the period ranged between 50 and 85 percent, respectively.
'The unspent balances increased from Rs 2.77 crore as of April 2017 to Rs 79.78 crore at the close of March 2019. Further, during the year 2019-20 an amount of Rs 119 crore was sanctioned by the GoI under the project and an expenditure of Rs 29.77 crore had been incurred by the department, leaving a balance of Rs 89.23 crore unutilised as of 31 March 2020,' it said.
The CAG said that during the year 2020-21 (up to August 2020), an amount of Rs 25.15 crore was released by the Union government against which no expenditure had been incurred (till August 2020).
The government audit body pointed out that under the project 56 items and works were to be procured and installed and out of which the procurement of 33 items and works (59 per cent) was completed by the department as of August 2020.
It further lambasted the home department for its failure to take up the integrated command centers and its linked components for execution as of August 31, 2020.
Similarly, the procurement of 413 CCTVs for police stations was under tendering process even in August 2020, the report said.
The CAG said 669 vehicles of various types (bulletproof bunkers, Rakshak vehicles, Gypsy, anti-riot vehicles, hydraulic crane, JCB, tractor) were sanctioned and only 547 had been procured, of which 499 vehicles had been delivered as of August 2020.
It pointed out that purchases worth Rs 100.27 crore, which included vehicles, body protectors, bulletproof patkas, anti-riot vehicles, farm track tractors and backhoe loaders were made by the police headquarters (PHQ) either on repeat order basis or from original manufacturers without ascertaining reasonability of rates by way of inviting tenders.
The GAG also pointed out that audit scrutiny of records revealed that the department had made purchases from particular firms and single sources, which resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 9.20 crore.
The department purchased seven MBP vehicles at higher rates from Ashok Leyland Limited, thereby incurring an extra expenditure, it said.
'Despite lower rates offered by Tata Motors Limited for MBP vehicles, vehicles were procured from Ashok Leyland Defense Systems Limited at higher rates,' it added.
Although the department had taken the plea that MBP vehicles are a proprietary item, the process of placing supply orders with both the firms was self-contradictory, the CAG said.
'Thus, considering the nature of urgency in such purchases, the department may adopt a streamlined procedure, consistent with the objectives of high-end security,' it noted.
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