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Audit exposes ‘mismanagement’ in HUDD

Srinagar, Feb 14: An audit by the Accountant General exposes “mismanagement” in the Housing and Urban Development Department in Jammu and Kashmir.
The audit report of Accountant General Jammu and Kashmir recently tabled in the state Assembly says there was “less transparency” in the functioning of the HUDD.
The mismanagement, it says, has also caused a loss to the state exchequer. The Executive Engineer ULB division II Jammu took up the construction of community centres Batote and Banihal at an estimated cost of Rs 45.36 lakh.
However, the report says, the audit noticed in January 2017 that after incurring the expenditure of Rs 24.60 lakh, the construction workswere abandoned due to non-availability of land and funds.
“It resulted in wasteful expenditure of Rs 24.60 lakh besides denial of benefits to the envisaged population of the area,” the report reads.
In March 2015, Urban Environment Engineering Department allotted a contract to a firm for design and construction of 1.20 MLD sewerage treatment plant at Patnitop at a cost of Rs 11.60 crore.
The scheme was proposed to be completed within two years. As per the report, however, scrutiny of the records has revealed that the firm was given mobilization advance of Rs 58 lakh and consultation fees of Rs 21.90 lakh.
“However, after executing some civil works, further execution was stopped in November 2015, which could not be restored till March 2017 due to non-obtaining of NOC from the Forest Department. Thus, poor planning of the Dept for taking up the work without the forest clearance has resulted in blocking of Rs 79.90 lakh,” it reads. The Director ULB Kashmir in March 2013 placed two supply orders for purchase of 22 TATA motor vehicles of different category with national carriages at a cost of Rs 2.47 crore during 2012-2013.
The report says that rates were inclusive of all taxes and duties both central and state and the delivery of vehicles by the supplier including copies of invoices and payment made was not provided to audit.
“However, from the payment details available on record it was seen that an amount of Rs 2.52 cr was paid to the supplier during march 2013 to may 2014 in respect of these vehicles, thereby resulting in an over-payment of Rs 5.59 lakh to the supplier,” the report reads.
Under the integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme scheme for Bandipora, the cash assistance of Rs 1.03 lakh per beneficiary was to be disbursed in three installments.
However, the report says that audit revealed out of 417 beneficiaries, 48 beneficiaries were found not eligible for assistance under the scheme.
“However Executive Officer, MC Bandipora had already disbursed March-April 2010 Rs 14.40 lakh to these 48 ineligible beneficiaries, which was not recovered till March 2017,” it reads.
The report reveals that an amount of Rs 5.31 crore had been incurred by three divisions during the year 2015-2016 on execution of works departmentally by engaging labour through mates in violation of the laid down norms.
An amount of Rs 5 crore was sanctioned in favour of director ULB Kashmir for its utilization on construction of shopping mall at Anantnag.
“The works were not taken up for execution and the amount was withdrawn march 2016 from the treasury and credited in the saving bank account,” the report reads.