GUWAHATI, Nov 3 - Peeved over the delay on the part of the Assam Government in releasing funds, the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) has demanded that the Centre should provide funds directly to the Autonomous Councils formed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Deputy Chief Executive Member of the BTC, Khampa Borgoyari alleged that every year the Assam Government releases funds at the end of the financial year, which makes it impossible for the Council to utilise the money on time. He said that as per the agreement for the constitution of the BTC, funds should have been earmarked as per population pattern. Though the population of the BTC area is around 12.19 per cent of the total population of the State, the Plan allocation is only around three to four per cent of the State�s Plan outlay, he added.
The BTC Deputy Chief alleged that instead of releasing the first instalment of money on the first day of the financial year, the Assam Government does so only in September, while the second instalment is released either in January or February, leaving very little time to execute the schemes. This year too, the first instalment was released in September and no one knows when the second instalment would be released, he said.
Borgoyari said that earlier the State Government used to release funds as grants-in-aid and the BTC had the power to decide in which department the money would be spent. But the rules have also been changed by the State Government and now it is specified where the money would have to be spent. Moreover, as per the new rule, the unspent money of a financial year cannot be carried over to the next year. If that is the case, the State Government should have released the money on time to give the Council enough time to spend the money and submit the utilisation certificates.
The BTC had earlier taken up the matter with the Centre. During the UPA regime, the then Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram was keen on direct funding to the Council. But the State Government strongly opposed the idea. After the new Government assumed office at the Centre, the BTC has again taken up the issue with the Centre.
On the allegations of misuse of funds released to the BTC, Borgoyari said that it was the BTC, which had requested the State Government to get the accounts of the council checked by the office of the Accountant General. He said that only after the intervention of the Governor, the accounts of the BTC are audited by the office of the AG. The accounts up to the year 2013-14 have been audited so far, he said.