Srinagar, Feb 26: Majority of the administrative departments of Jammu and Kashmir government have repeatedly failed to submit the Action Taken Notes (ATN) to the Auditor General on issues, which were highlighted and had featured in CAG reports from 2001 to 2016.
As per official documents, at least 682 audited paragraphs, mostly related to the functioning of the departments, featured in the CAG reports from 2000-01 to 2015-16, which on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature were to be furnished within six months of the respective CAG reports.
However, only 329 paragraphs were discussed by the committee till September last year, while the rest (352) are still outstanding.
As fresh circular issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) on February 14 said the Accountant General (Audit) Sushil Kumar Thakur, on January 8, had asked the departments to furnish ATNs on audited paragraphs, which had evoked no response from them.
The Accountant General had asked the concerned Administrative Secretaries to submit ATNs on the Audit Paragraphs “without any further delay.”
The pleas from the government for submission of the ATN have been continuously avoided since 1997, when Finance Department had ordered the departments to furnish the ATN of various paragraphs to the Auditor General.
In July 2017, a circular was also issued on instructions of the Finance Department and General Administration, which too met the same fate of ill-responsiveness by the executives of government departments.
Auditor General on January 8 wrote a letter to Chief Secretary to seek assistance for impressing the departments for the submission of ATNs within prescribed time.
“As you would appreciate, speedy follow-up action on the Audit Paragraphs is essential. I shall therefore be grateful, if you could impress upon the concerned departments to furnish the ATNs within the prescribed time limit,” he wrote in a letter.
In its list of paragraphs, the CAG has highlighted for the need of reviewing the functioning of departments including Agriculture Department, Forest, Public Works, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Transport, Tourism, Industries and Commerce, Social Welfare and Power Development.
While it highlighted shortcoming in the functioning of these departments, Action Taken Notes on prevalence of favouritism, extra expenditure on works, block of funds and scams was also sought.
In one instance, the then Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department was asked to submit Action Taken Note on embezzlement of government money in 2010, which the department as per the CAG report has not responded yet.
Similarly, issues including leakage of revenue were pointed out in Transport department in 2002, wasteful expenditure due to deficient planning in Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation in 2011.
As per the document, Industries and Commerce Department has not responded to the issue of loss of revenue in a dubious firm since 2002.
In 2004, the CAG report has noted about “unfruitful” expenditure on computerization of land records, which too has not been responded yet.
Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar
Kulgam, Apr 24: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the low voter turnout in Anantnag and Bijbehara is a lesson for PDP and Mehbooba Mufti.
He asserted that the ensuing elections are significant since it provides the people of the state an opportunity to reveal how passionately they feel about their identity including Art370, Art 35-A.
Addressing two separate public meets at Chawalgam and Homeshalibug, Kulgam party vice president said that the threats of BJP-RSS to abrogate Art 370, Art 35A will be defeated as the people of the state will not allow them succeed in their nefarious designs. “ Today state is facing an assault on its special status from all sides, however all the machinations of the forces as are inimical to our status will fall flat if the people of our state show resoluteness in protecting the identity and integrity of our state. This time people across the state have taken it upon themselves to trounce the efforts as are hell bent to destroy the special constitutional status of the state,” he said adding, “Today’s elections is not about choosing MLA’s, today our state is fraught with a challenging situation. The need of the hour is to send a representative to Parliament who can fight for the interests of state, the situation that the state is facing today demands of having a credible voice at Delhi who can work tireless both within and outside parliament for the protection of Art 370, Art 35-A. Seeing the scope of work and the challenges we are facing, we considerately fielded Retired Justice Hasnain Sb from Anantnag constituency. He is known for his pronounced judgments on Art 370, Art 35 A. He boasts the necessary political and legal acumen to deal with the situation.”
While highlighting the importance of Art 370, Art 35 A, Omar said, “It is needless to say how important Art 370, Art 35-A are for the state and its people. Today the people of our state are masters of its own land. They work on their land, and derive their sustenance from it. God forbid, if these articles are done away with, the consequences that will follow shall be beyond our comprehension. The people of the state will stop to cleave to a respectable denomination which Sher- e- Kashmir bestowed upon them through famous land to tiller reforms and other people friendly measures. Our kids would not be able to derive various scholarships from government. The youth of our state will cease to be the sole beneficiary of jobs in government sector. Keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences of abrogation of our status, we deemed it fit to have Hasnain Masoodi represent us in parliament from Anantnag.”
Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik
Srinagar, Apr 24: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded the release of separatist leader Yasin Malik.
“Yasin Malik should be released immediately as he is really unwell. Also other members of Jamaat-e-Islami should be released. Sadhvi Pragya on whom there are several serious accusations has been set free,” Mufti said.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a 2017 alleged funding case.
Mehbooba also lodged a note of protest against a slew of measures brought about in the valley recently.
“After the encounter, families of militants are harassed and the cross LoC trade which was taking place through Muzaffarabad has also been stopped. The National Highway is closed for traffic for two days in a week and security forces are interfering in the daily life of people. We are protesting against all these issues,” she said.
Elections in the state are staggered in five phases which began on April 11 and culminate on May 6. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today
Srinagar, Apr 24: Rains continued to lash Kashmir since Tuesday evening, bringing the average temperature down in the valley.
The local meteorological department predicted improvement in weather conditions from Thursday evening.
The rains began on Tuesday evening and continued intermittently till this evening. The rains in the Valley led to dip in the temperature.
Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that the weather conditions in Kashmir would improve from Thursday evening.
He said the light rainfall would continue intermittently till Thursday evening following which there will be improvement in the weather.
Ahmad said that in plains the weather would improve from Thursday afternoon while in higher reaches it will start improving from the evening.
Meanwhile, an official in Meteorological department informed that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 12.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night against 8.9 degrees Celsius normal for this time of the season.
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received 3.9 mm of rain since overnight till 8:30 hours, he said.
The official said that Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius and had a rainfall of 6.8 mm while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of 9.2 degrees Celsius and it had 8.6 mm of rains during the time.
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