Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When it Comes to Corruption, J&K Legislature Plays Ignorant

The MLA from Langate cuts a comic figure in the J&K Assembly griping about one thing or the other. So how come even he ignores hard data on corruption, mismanagement and sickly governance of the state institutions exposed by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) in its latest report covering 2010-2011? Numerous Reports

Lack of Accountability Leading to Deeper Corruption in Governance Process

(Kashmir Times Editorial)

It is a strange phenomenon in Jammu and Kashmir that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports which have been usually indicting various departments of the government for violation of financial rules are ignored and dumped by the concerned authorities. Not only this, these reports have nullified by the legislature committees which go into the details to seek accountability of the fiscal expenditure over the past year. As such no action has been initiated by those ruling the roost in the corridors of power against the guilty officers who have either misappropriated the allocated funds or made excess payments to the contractors for sharing the booty in the process.

The CAG reports are treated as a routine affair because the government does not want to take action on the financial irregularities reported on annual basis. It heartening to note that some of the guilty officers, against whom inquiries have been ordered and completed are given prime postings probably for the skills they have acquired over the years in swindling the development funds. Unfortunately this state of affairs in J&K where no accountability is ensured at any level by the government has only lead to making poor people poorer every year. The economic and social empowerment programme aimed at providing job opportunities to the poor go haywire and on papers are shown as big achievements of the state while money so swindled by the officers is pocketed by them in the absence of any accountability. This is perhaps one of the major reasons why J&K continues to be most corrupt and mis-governed state in the country.

The new set of politicians, who come from a different elite class of the state and tasting power for the first time in their life are quite isolated from these ground realities of the state. That is the main reason why these CAG reports are not taken seriously.

CAG Detects Rs. 1726.88 crore Fraud in accounts, Transactions of J&K Govt

Syed Junaid Hashmi (Early Times)

Jammu: CAG has detected Rs. 1726.88 crore fraud in the accounts and transactions of various departments of Jammu and Kashmir government.

In its audit report for the financial year 2010-11, CAG has pointed out that during the last three financial years (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11), serious irregularities amounting to Rs. 1726.88 crores were brought to the notice of government but to no avail. CAG has rebutted government claims and stated that its audit observations were not respected and no action was taken even over the serious cases of embezzlement and fraud.

These serious irregularities came to fore during periodical inspection of accounts and transactions of various government departments by Principal Auditor General (Audit). After the inspection, departmental heads were apprised through Inspection Reports (IRs) about irregularities detected during the inspection in their respective departments. Even the higher authorities i.e ministers were sent copies of these reports.

Though anticipated to act swiftly, these departmental heads preferred to burry these observations and made no efforts to initiate inquiries and recoveries as required. Finance Department is yet to take serious corrective measures and initiate recoveries in 257 such cases involving an amount of Rs. 857.47 crore. Transport Department has failed to take action in irregularities amounting to Rs. 20.86 crore.

Rs. 813 crore irregularities involving 183 different cases have been detected in the Stamps and Registration department. Action by the state government has not been forthcoming especially in fixing responsibility of heads of various departments. Further, on yearly basis, present coalition government took over in January 2009 and on that day, the amount involved in irregularities stood at Rs. 739.11 crore.

During the first financial year i.e 2009-2010, CAG detected irregularities amounting to Rs. 935.57 crore. In the year 2010-11, irregularities of Rs. 132.61 crore were detected upto June 2010. 599 inspection reports were submitted to the government for perusal and action. Government took half-hearted action in 10 cases and recovered meager amount of Rs. 1 lakh during the last three financial years.

CAG has present a bleak picture of government action by stating that during the last five financial years starting from 2005-06; out of umbrage of cases pointed out, government took notice of just 33 cases of irregularities involving Rs. 8.75 crore. Even out of this small amount, government has managed to recover Rs. 45 lakh, leaving around Rs. 8.30 crore yet to be recovered.

CAG has stated that even in the cases, where government has accepted its observations, departmental heads have failed to recover the dues. CAG has advised the government to install a mechanism for pursuing and monitoring prompt recovery of dues involved in the accepted cases. Large pendency of IRs indicates that heads of various departments do not take prompt and timely action to rectify defects, omissions and irregularities, CAG has pointed out in its report.
It has stressed that prolonged delay in settlement of the audit observations is fraught with risk of their becoming too old for effecting recovery by the concerned departments. CAG has also observed that test check of 71 units of commercial tax, motor vehicles and pother departmental offices conducted during the year 2010-11 revealed loss of revenue aggregating to Rs. 68.92 crore in 300 cases.

CAG Indicts State Govt for Flouting Norms

Dinesh Manhotra (Tribune)

Jammu: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted the Jammu and Kashmir government for violating the budget manual and delaying the submission of annual accounts of some autonomous bodies.

The latest CAG report stated that the government had failed to surrender Rs 3,762.45 crore in 42 cases of budgetary grants and appropriations in financial year 2010-11, while holding the state government’s compliance with various rules, procedures and directives unsatisfactory.

The CAG report pointed out that at the close 2010-11, there were 18 grants and five appropriations (state budget) in which savings occurred but no part of which was surrendered by the departments concerned.

“The outcome of the appropriation audit reveals that in 42 cases, savings exceeded Rs 1 crore in each case. Against the total savings of Rs 3,762.45 crore, savings of Rs 3,242.56 crore (86 per cent) occurred in 15 cases related to 12 grants,” the report pointed out.

The failure to surrender the funds deprived the government of the opportunity to transfer these funds to other needy sectors, the report revealed. As per the state budget manual, the spending departments are required to surrender grants, appropriations or saving portion thereof to the Finance Department as and when the savings are anticipated, the report said, adding that it was a violation of the state budget manual and the fiscal management.

“At the close of the year 2010-11, savings occurred in 26 grants and five appropriations but no part of it was surrendered by the departments concerned,” the report mentioned. Of the total grants of Rs 14,353.83 crore, the actual expenditure incurred was to the tune of Rs 111,10.68 crore, resulting in savings of Rs 3,762.45 crore, the report pointed out.

“According to the Jammu and Kashmir Financial code, rush in spending during the closing months of a financial year should be avoided. Contrary to this, in respect of 13 major heads, expenditure exceeding 10 crore for the year was incurred either during the last quarter or during the last month of the financial year 2010-11,” the report stated, while highlighting violation of the budgetary manual.

Rs 1,426 cr Tax Recoverable From JK traders: CAG

Jammu: Recommending immediate steps to recover huge arrears of revenue, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has said tax dues amounting to Rs 1,426.38

crore are still to be recovered from traders and companies in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The arrears of revenue as on March 31, 2011, on account of taxes on sales, VAT, trades are Rs 1,426.38 crore, of which Rs 351.59 crore were outstanding for more than five years," the CAG report discloses.

It said the arrears of revenue on account of VAT, sales and trade tax shown steep rise 2009-10, except in 2008-09 when the arrears decreased by 23 per cent. “The overall arrears of revenue accumulated to Rs 1,426.38 crores showing quantum increase of 24 per cent over the previous year,” it said.

"Appropriate steps need to be taken for recovery. The arrears outstanding for more than five years constitute 25 per cent of the total arrears and need to be recovered on priority", the report said.

The CAG recommended that government take immediate steps for recovery of the arrears of revenue, particularly in those cases which has been pending for a long time. (Rising Kashmir)

CAG Performance Review of PDD

Jammu: The Power Development Department despite spending Rs 491.84 Cr on six projects during 2006-11 under APDRP with progressive expenditure of Rs 812.90 Cr ending March 2011 could not achieve the envisaged aim of reduction in T&D/A&TC losses, arresting failure rate of transformers and meter installation.

Huge shortfall of 90 per cent despite spending Rs 499.69 Cr during the last five years ending March 2011 under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) indicated that the main objectives of the programme to provide access to electricity to all households within the stipulated time frame including coverage of all BPL households in all rural habitations too failed.

This was revealed in the performance review of PDD, under the charge of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for the year ended March 31, 2011.

As per the review, the aims and objectives of bringing about reforms in the Power Distribution sector so as to provide reliable and quality power supply for all by 2012 by way of system upgradation, control and reduction of T&D losses and power thefts and by making the sector commercially viable as per National Electricity Policy and Plan were not achieved.

The T&D losses, instead of decreasing had increased, the failure rate of distribution transformers had gone up and the arrears in revenue realisation had swelled during 2006-11.
The T&D losses ranged between 51 and 63 per cent during the last five years ending March 2011 against the target norm of 29 per cent.

The ratio of transformation capacity to total connected load ranged around 2.39:1 (against standard ratio of 1:1), thus representing excess transformation capacity against the connected load indicating that the transformers provided were more than the requirements.

Implementation of Centrally Sponsored Programmes had suffered due to non-adherence to the stipulated time frames, slow/non-execution of essential components like consumer metering, capacitor installation, modernisation works etc., besides, idle/unfruitful and excess expenditure, blocking and diversion of funds. Project works under APDRP were not executed through pre-qualified turnkey contractors and most of the assets created were commissioned without prior issuance of fitness certificates.

The activities under R-APDRP had not started fully as Part-B of the programme was still under finalization which had in turn affected process of reduction of Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses by envisaged three per cent per year as per the guidelines.
An analysis of the data revealed that for every unit of energy supplied to the consumers during 2010-11 by the Department, heavily dependent upon the budgetary support from the state government to provide electricity to the population, the state spent an amount of Rs 5.77 from its budget.

NO DISTRIBUTION NETWORK PLANNING: As per the review, the department was required to prepare a long-term plan and annual plans for creation of infrastructure facilities for efficient distribution of electricity to the maximum possible population in the state. Besides, the upkeep of the existing network, additions to distribution network were required to be planned keeping in view the demand/connected load, anticipated new connections and growth in demand based on Electric Power Survey. Annual plans based on the above parameters had not been prepared. Instead, works were executed on individual demands in an indiscriminate manner leading to situations of distribution transformers being installed in disregard to power availability and connected load in a particular area. Indiscriminate capacity additions had resulted in increased energy misuse and overload at receiving and grid stations.

HIGH FAILURE RATE OF DISTRIBUTION TRANSFORMERS: The failure rate of Distribution Transformers (DTRs) was higher than the permissible rate to the extent of 28.65 to 39.50 per cent. The high rate of failure of DTRs due to overloading was attributed to large scale theft and misuse of power due to non-installation of meters.

BILLING EFFICIENCY: The energy billed, during the last five years, had ranged between 37 and 49 per cent of the total energy available for sale. The main reasons for large gap of 4,205.69 MUs to 6,626.23 MUs were non-metering of consumer connections, theft, pilferage and misuse of energy by the consumers.

PRCHASE OF POWER: The energy deficit had increased from 27 per cent in 2006-07 to 38 per cent in 2008-09. The deficit had come down to 34 per cent in 2010-11 apparently due to availability of more power after commissioning of Baglihar and Sewa-11 Hydroelectric projects in the state.
(Kashmir Times)

CAG sketches dismal picture of JK power scenario

‘T&D Losses Shoot up to 62 pc, PDD Survives on Govt’s Budgetary Support’

Akshay Azad (Greater Kashmir)

Jammu: The Transmission and Distribution losses in J&K have touched whopping 62 per cent in last five years, while the state government has provided 69 per cent budgetary support to Power Development Department to meet its power purchase bill and other expenses during the year ended March 2011.

Portraying a dismal picture of state’s power scenario, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its recent report reveals that the T&D losses over these years ranged between 51 and 63 percent.

“As per a Memorandum of Understanding executed with Government of India under Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (APDRP), the state government was committed to bring down T&D losses to 25 percent by Dec 2006. But contrary to it, the losses have alarmingly gone up from 45 percent in 2005-06 to 62 percent in 2010-11 due to unsatisfactory implementation of the Centrally sponsored power reform Programmes” the report observes.

The PDD, the report says was heavily dependent upon the budgetary support from the state government to provide electricity to the state.

In 2010-11 the total expenditure on the distribution (including power purchase) was Rs. 3,383 crore, while the total income including sale of power was Rs 1,053 crore, the repot maintains, adding that the budgetary support given by state government was to the tune of Rs 2,330 crore (around 69 percent) for 4,041 Metric Units of power.

“An analysis of the data revealed that for every unit of energy supplied to the consumers by the department during 2010-11, the state had spent an amount of Rs. 5.77 from its budget” the report reveals.

The report says the records revealed that while approving tariff for 2010-11, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) had noted that the T&D losses in the state were the highest in the country.

“Despite submissions made by the department with regard to the initiatives being taken for reducing such losses in the state over the years, it had miserably failed in controlling the losses” CAG report says.

The report adds that it was also seen in the audit that despite all assurances to make sincere efforts to reduce T&D losses to an acceptable level, such losses for 2010-11 were at staggering 62 percent which was 33 percent higher than the proposed reduction of 29 percent by 2010-11 spelt out in the 11th five year plan document.

J-K Spent Over Rs 6,000 cr Without Legislature Nod: CAG

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has revealed that the Jammu and Kashmir government spent over Rs 6,000 crore without any approval from the State Legislature during 2010-11.

“In 17 cases, expenditure aggregating Rs 16,420.86 crore exceeded by Rs 6,130.34 crore of the total approved provisions,” pointed out CAG’s latest audit report on state’s financial management and budgetary control for the year ending March 31, 2011. Of these, excess expenditure by more than 20 per cent has been observed consistently for the last five years in respect of one appropriation (finance), it has pointed out. (Express news service)

Rs 1.06 crore Embezzled in 2 Valley Hospitals: CAG report

Ashwani Sharma (Greater Kashmir)

Jammu: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has revealed that lax supervision and absence of internal control mechanism in finances resulted in embezzlement of Rs 1.06 crore in two hospitals SMHS Srinagar and district hospital Pulwama in south Kashmir.

The CAG in its annual report for year 2010-11, released recently states that Audit scrutiny (November/December 2009) of the records of Medical Superintendent, SMHS revealed that out of Rs 4.73 crore realized from April 2007 to December 2009 on account of sale of OPD/IPD tickets, medical facilities/investigation charges, and parking charges, Rs 70.60 lakh had not been accounted for and un authorizedly retained by the cashier. The non-accountal of huge sums by the cashier was facilitated due to lack of an internal control mechanism and lax supervision by the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO). The failure of the DDO/Medical Superintendent in adhering to the monitoring system and internal controls as prescribed in the Financial Code resulted in misappropriation of revenue of Rs 1.03 crore.

After the matter came into the notice of Principal Government Medical College, Srinagar and confirmation of the embezzlement, the quantum of misappropriation went up from Rs 70.60 lakh detected by the Audit, to Rs 1.03 crore. Out of this, Rs 54.10 lakh had been recovered (December 2009 to April 2010), thus leaving a balance Rs 48.70 lakh unrecovered from the delinquent official (August 2011).

The delinquent cashier was placed under suspension (June 2010) and the Department stated (August 2011) that a case had been registered (August 2010) against the official by the State Vigilance Organization which also seized the relevant records for investigation.
Meanwhile, scrutiny of records of the Medical Superintendent (DDO), District Hospital, Pulwama revealed that against Rs 18.06 lakh realized from January 9, 2010 to September 14, 2010 as OPD/IPD/DC/investigation charges by an official posted as incharge Registration section, Rs 14.89 lakh only had been deposited with the office cashier for onward deposition into the Hospital Development Fund (HDF) account, thereby, causing a loss of Rs 3.17 lakh.

The CAG maintained that the embezzlement was facilitated due to lax supervision and non-observance of prescribed control procedure by the DDO.

“Reconciliation of work done reports of X-Ray, USG, ECG, Laboratory section, Blood bank and Dental section with the total revenue realized was not done to see whether the revenue realized and the total work done by respective sections were in agreement with each other. Moreover the cash receipts were not entered in the subsidiary cash book promptly and were never checked by the concerned RMOs or the Medical Superintendent nor they conducted surprise checks” the report detected

Negligence of PWD Costs Rs 1.64 crore to State Exchequer: CAG Report

Akshay Azad (Greater Kashmir)

Jammu: Signifying messy state of affairs, the Public Works Department (PWD) caused a loss of Rs 1.64 crore to the state exchequer by releasing Machinery Advance (MA) to a construction firm without verifying its bank guarantee to secure the payments.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its recent report reveals that the Chief Engineer of PMGSY division Bandipora and Baramulla had allotted construction of two roads to M/S Jay Kay Sam Construction Private Limited, Srinagar on turn-key basis.

“However, the firm abandoned the project halfway. Mobilisation and machinery advance of Rs. 78.86 lakh for the construction of Binlipora-Ketson road in Bandipora and Rs. 96.73 lakhs for construction of Isham-Nawarunda road were released in favour of the contractor by the concerned Chief Engineer,” the CAG report stated.

“The funds were released to the contractor against the Bank Guarantee (BG) of an equal amount. Astonishingly the payments of Mobilization- Machinery advance were made to the contractor by both the divisions against BGs issued by Manager, State Bank of India, TRC Branch Srinagar.”

“The contractor in both the cases abandoned the works midway and despite repeated notices and reminders did not resume the work. To recover the amount, when the concerned CE sent the guarantees to the concerned Bank for verification /encashment, both these turned out to be fake,” the report states.

CAG further observed that the BGs had not been verified by the concerned Executive Engineers (EEs) before release of the advance. “Till abandonment of the works the contractor had executed works to the tune of Rs. 80.66 lakh only against which Rs. 11.73 lakh had been adjusted from the Mobilization Advance (MA). An amount of Rs. 1.64 Crore was recoverable from the contractor at the time of abandonment of the works,” the report states.

The report further states that the negligence of the PWD department resulted in blockade of recoverable payment of Rs. 1.64 Crore.

In its defence, the PWD had action against the contractor was initiated by way of withholding payments lying in his deposits besides, approaching the sister departments for stoppage of any payment due to the defaulter, the report further stated.

Number of Schools Goes up, Decline in Enrollment

10% schools checked by CAG run by single teachers

Vikas Sharma (Kashmir Times)

Jammu: Notwithstanding the tall claims of coalition government to bring revolution in education sector by opening new schools and upgrading the existing ones, thirty per cent schools at elementary level in six districts are functioning in rented buildings and 13 per cent are having single-room accommodation.

Though there had been a gradual decline in the out-of-school children from 5.73 per cent in 2006-07 to 2.58 per cent in 2009-10, yet the goal of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) was still a distant dream.

These disturbing facts have brought to the fore by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India report for the year ended march 31, 2011.

As per the report, despite increase in the number of schools, the enrolment has decreased in the test-checked districts. Although the number of Government schools (6918) was much higher than the number of private schools (1505) and students per school) in private schools.

Though Teacher Pupil ratio in test-checked schools was 1:12 and within the prescribed norm of 1:40, 718 schools out of 7016 schools in test-checked districts were run by single teachers.
Inadequate Facilities And Lack Of Basic Infrastructure

Basic amenities and facilities, drinking water, play grounds, etc., were also found wanting in many schools. At the state level, 3256 habitations (12 per cent) are without any schooling facility as of March 2011.

Delay in completion of works: Out of 5232 works relating to construction of schools, additional class rooms cluster resource centers, etc., taken up during 2002-11, only 65 per cent had been completed. Work on 560 school buildings had not been started. 485 works had been abandoned mid-way and work on 34 school buildings in test-checked districts had been taken up on disputed sites.

Delay In Issuance Of Text-Books:

Delay of more than three to five months in issue of text books to students was observed.
Deficient mid-day meal programme: Introduction of Mid-day-meals programme did not have the desired impact due to inadequate infrastructure, deficient survey for preparation of Annual plans and less lifting of food grains from Food Corporation of India.
Deficient Planning

The department had not prepared any perspective plan. Annual plans prepared were not based on inputs from school/Zonal level or Household Surveys. NGO's were not involved at any level.

The State Implementing Society (SIS), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) had retained huge balances during 2006-11 with it, indicating that funds had not been released to the CEOs in full. Release of funds by the CEOs to the ZEOs was not in synchronization with the pace of implementation of the programme at the ground level, thus, resulting in parking of huge funds in Saving Bank accounts at all levels (CEOs/ZEOs/Schools).
Instances of non-submission of Utilization Certificates in respect of amounts utilized, diversion of funds and improper accounting were noticed.

CAG Pulls up LAWDA on Dal Conservation Funds

Ishfaq Tantry (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has revealed that due to inaction of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to execute various works, funds ranging between 32 to 60 percent remained underutilized from 2006 to 2011.

The project of conservation and management of Dal Lake was sanctioned in September 2005 by Government of India (GoI) under NLCP (National Lake Conservation Programme) at an estimated cost of Rs. 298.76 crores. The project was supposed to be completed by March 2010 but the deadline was subsequently extended to March 2012.

“The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Programme was approved in May 2001 by J&K government at an estimated cost of Rs 135 crore, which was revised to Rs. 442 crore in 2007-08. After inclusion of Dal Lake under NLCP, the LAWDA spent Rs 308.43 crores during 2005-11”, the CAG points out in its audit report.

It said the ‘entry conference’ was held on October 26, 2010 and it was attended by Commissioner-cum-Secretary, J&K Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD), Vice-Chairman and F& CAO of the LAWDA. “The audit objectives, criteria and scope of audit were discussed and subsequently an exit conference was held with Principal Secretary-cum-Commissioner HUDD on October 13, 2011”.

“As is evident from the position of funds released and those spent on the conservation project under NLCP during last six years, the implementation of the programme was sluggish during initial stages and huge funds ranging between 32 to 60 percent remained unutilized during 2005-11”, points out CAG report.

It asserted that under-utilization of huge funds was mainly due to inaction of LAWDA to execute various works like houseboat sanitation, infrastructure development, construction of water tanks in the catchment area, construction of a canal for carrying of fresh water to lake, resettlement of Dal-dwellers, etc.

“The Vice-Chairman (VC) LAWDA attributed underutilization of funds to unfavorable conditions in the valley, land disputes and non-cooperation of houseboat owners”, states CAG report.

It is pertinent to mention here before Dal Conservation programme was brought under NLCP, it was being looked after by State’s Urban Engineering Department, which spent Rs.72 crores on developmental activities of the lake upto 1996-97. LAWDA, after coming into existence in 1997, spent further amount of Rs.119 crores from 1997-98 to March 2005.

J-K Govt Fails to Submit Over Rs 1,752 cr UCs: CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up Jammu and Kashmir government for failing to submit Utilisation Certificates (UCs) amounting to over Rs 1752 crore to the Centre by March 2011.

"The Utilisation Certificates in respect of 2,584 work items amounting to Rs 1752.44 crore were outstanding as of March 2011," CAG report on state finances for the year ended March 2011 said.

The report, which was recently tabled in the J-K Assembly, said, "Evidently, there has been laxity on the part of the department and as a result, UCs for Rs 1,752.44 crore in respect of 2,584 items were pending for submission as of March 2011 despite reminders."

According to rules, for grants provided for specific purpose, UCs should be obtain by the departmental officers from the guarantees and after verification, these should be forwarded to Accountant General within 18 months from the date of their sanction unless specified otherwise, the report said.

Criticising the government for its \"lacklustre attitude\", the CAG said pendency of submission of UCs was bound to affect flow of the funds to these agencies in future.

CAG Detects 3049 Duplicate Engine, Chassis Numbers

Jammu: The recently released report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the State Motor Vehicle Department in JK for failure to formulate a security policy. It states that it has detected over 3000 cases of duplicate engine and chassis numbers of vehicles registered with Regional Transport Offices (RTOs).

"Our analysis of data base of VAHAN revealed 3032 cases of duplicate engine numbers, 17 cases of duplicate chassis numbers and 53 black engine numbers in seven test check of RTOs and ARTOs, thereby rendering the data unreliable," the CAG report reveals.

These cases were detected in Baramulla, Srinagar, Budgam, Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur districts of Jammu and Kashmir, it said.

When the CAG pointed out the duplicate engine and chassis number to the State Motor Vehicle Department (SMVD) of September 2011, the department did not correct the mistakes.

Every vehicle engine is marked with an engine number and Chassis number by the factory. The chassis and engine numbers helps in tracking the vehicle make and model.

The chassis and engine numbers are checked by the RTA inspector at the time of registration of the vehicle and so each vehicle should have a unique alphanumeric chassis number and engine number assigned by the manufacturer, the CAG said.

The CAG also pulled up the SMVD for failure to formulate security policy or issue any guidelines to RTOs, ARTOs for protection of hardware and software, by taking preventive measures.

The CAG also detected that security features to prevent forging of registration certificates and driving license issued by the department were not taken by department.

"Our analysis of database of RTO Jammu revealed that in respect of 526 registered vehicles, the user name of the data entry operator was not available in the main data base of VAHAN Software (for registration of vehicles)".

Absence of this trail indicates that the database has been tampered with by using backend facilities as result of which the system was exposed to the risk of unauthorized access and resultant damage could not ruled out, it said adding that there also was no restriction on login attempts to prevent unauthorized access. (PTI)

.... and finally, the State wakes up (but it may be an eye wash)

Sluggish PMRP: JK Sets up Coordination Committee

Muddasir Ali (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: With slow implementation and cost overrun hitting flagship Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Program (PMRP) in Jammu and Kashmir, state government has now set up a high level committee for coordinating with Government of India authorities for speedy execution of the program.

Headed by the Chief Secretary, the “Central Sector Projects Coordination Committee” would be coordinating the implementation of central sector projects with the central authorities. Officials said the committee would meet once in a quarter to take up the review of the implementation of the schemes with the authorities from the Government of India departments.
During his visit to JK in 2004, the Prime Minister had announced Rs 27,902-crore reconstruction plan for JK including 67 projects/schemes broadly aimed at expanding economic infrastructure, expanding provisions of basic services and providing thrust to employment and income generation. However due to delay in execution of the works which had resulted in cost overruns, the program was revised at Rs 33,000 crore.

The entire program has three components—state sectors projects to be implemented by the state government, Central projects to be implemented by the state government and central projects to be executed by the central government authorities. Official said JK government has received around Rs 4636 crore of the total outlay of Rs 6,199.66 crore for projects to be executed by them. Major projects under this sector include Baglihar, Mughal Road, 24 degree colleges, Model Villages (119), up gradation of T&D system, land acquisition for PMGSY roads, Khanabal-Pahalgam road, Sawalkot Access Road, Narbal- Tangmarg Road, Rs 80 crore package for infrastructure development of Ladakh.

“More than 92 percent of the funds received under the state sector have been expended till date,” said a senior official in state Planning Department.

However the worry has been the execution of the projects falling under central sector. One category of these projects to be executed by the state government include setting up of 50 tourist villages, Conservation of Dal Lake under National Lake Conservation Plan, Conservation of Wular Lake (Baramullah District) and Tsomoriri under the National Wetlands Conservation Plan and compensation to industries whose units have been used by security forces. Providing self employment opportunities to urban unemployed persons under Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation program is also part of the category. The total cost of these projects is around Rs 6,341.35 crore. “There is however a progress of only around 35 percent,” said the official. “The funding of such projects is directly controlled by the Union government ministries and state has no say,” said the official.

The performance on the projects under central sector to be executed by the central agencies is no better. They comprise of more than Rs 20000 crore, mostly power schemes. The projects include power schemes 1000-MW Pakal Dul, 1020-MW Bursar, 330-MW Kishanganga, 45-MW Nimo Bagzo, 44-MW Chutak and 240-MW Uri-II—to be executed by NHPC. Different road projects including Domel-Katra road, Batote-Kishtwar road, Srinagar-Uri, Nimo-Padam-Darcha Road—to be executed by BRO, and establishing new Tourist Circuit (Lakhanpur-Basoli-Bani-Bhaderwah-Kishtwar-Sinthan-Srinagar) were also part of the program.

“Some of these are long gestation projects and may require more than 10 years for completion,” said the official.

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