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Panel irked at govt failure

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 19 � The Assam government has incurred the wrath of a Parliamentary panel for its failure to submit vital documents including utilisation certificates (UCs) and completion certificates (CCs) for projects in BTC areas.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Ministry of DoNER has expressed its strong displeasure that the Government of Assam has not fulfilled its assurance of submitting UCs, leave aside CCs.

The Ministry explained that the anomalies were primarily due to non-submission of requisite documents by the Government of Assam in time. The Ministry informed that under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) package of Rs 500 crore, 42 projects were sanctioned, out of which 41 projects have already been completed. Under an additional BTC package of Rs 250 crore, 21 projects have been sanctioned so far, out of which two projects have been completed.

The committee further noted that the money from the Centre meant for the BTC package has been lying with the Government of Assam.

The committee noted that under the BTC package of Rs 500 crore, 42 projects at an approved cost of Rs 476.27 crore had been sanctioned, against which Rs 453.34 crore was released by the Ministry. The committee also noted at that time that the Government of Assam had submitted utilisation certificates for only Rs 398.07 crore.

The report of the Standing Committee submitted to the Parliament recently, said it had taken a serious view and felt that in a federal setup like India, when the Central government sanctioned the fund, the State government had no business to retain the fund for a longer period.

The committee at that time desired that the Central government could review the entire package and take up the matter with the State government to ensure that such things did not recur in future.

In case the State government does not release the funds for the purpose for which they are sanctioned, future release of fund to the State government may be held up until the State government takes necessary action.

The Government of Assam was apprised of the serious concern of the committee regarding delay in transfer of funds of the BTC and requested to devise a mechanism so as to ensure uninterrupted flow of funds to the BTC. The committee desired to be apprised of the steps taken by the Government of Assam along with details of release made by the Government of Assam during the last two years, the report said.

Following the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between the Government of India and Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) in 2003, the Government of India had agreed to provide a financial assistance of Rs 100 crore per annum for five years for projects to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in BTC areas over and above the normal Plan assistance to Assam.

The Government of India further announced a fresh tranche of Rs 250 crore as assistance for the integrated development of the (BTC) areas in August 2008.

The committee therefore recommended that the balance utilisation certificates be submitted at the earliest by the Assam government and the remaining projects completed at the earliest.

The Parliamentary panel also slammed the DoNER Ministry for its failure to utilise funds. The committee was disappointed to note the inability of the Ministry to utilise the funds completely for various plan schemes like NLCPR, NESRIP. This shortfall in financial targets was unacceptable in these critical schemes as it cast a shadow over the absorption capacity of the implementing agencies of the programmes.

The committee also noted that one project was yet to be completed from among the 42 sanctioned projects under the package sanctioned in 2003. Non-completion of all the projects in a long time span of 12 yeas does not present a good picture, it remarked.

Meanwhile, the Committee expressed concerned about the huge shortfall of Rs. 714.71 crore in the approved budgetary allocation as compared to projected demands and wonders as to how the Ministry will make up for this huge deficit.

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Panel irked at govt failure

NEW DELHI, May 19 � The Assam government has incurred the wrath of a Parliamentary panel for its failure to submit vital documents including utilisation certificates (UCs) and completion certificates (CCs) for projects in BTC areas.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Ministry of DoNER has expressed its strong displeasure that the Government of Assam has not fulfilled its assurance of submitting UCs, leave aside CCs.

The Ministry explained that the anomalies were primarily due to non-submission of requisite documents by the Government of Assam in time. The Ministry informed that under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) package of Rs 500 crore, 42 projects were sanctioned, out of which 41 projects have already been completed. Under an additional BTC package of Rs 250 crore, 21 projects have been sanctioned so far, out of which two projects have been completed.

The committee further noted that the money from the Centre meant for the BTC package has been lying with the Government of Assam.

The committee noted that under the BTC package of Rs 500 crore, 42 projects at an approved cost of Rs 476.27 crore had been sanctioned, against which Rs 453.34 crore was released by the Ministry. The committee also noted at that time that the Government of Assam had submitted utilisation certificates for only Rs 398.07 crore.

The report of the Standing Committee submitted to the Parliament recently, said it had taken a serious view and felt that in a federal setup like India, when the Central government sanctioned the fund, the State government had no business to retain the fund for a longer period.

The committee at that time desired that the Central government could review the entire package and take up the matter with the State government to ensure that such things did not recur in future.

In case the State government does not release the funds for the purpose for which they are sanctioned, future release of fund to the State government may be held up until the State government takes necessary action.

The Government of Assam was apprised of the serious concern of the committee regarding delay in transfer of funds of the BTC and requested to devise a mechanism so as to ensure uninterrupted flow of funds to the BTC. The committee desired to be apprised of the steps taken by the Government of Assam along with details of release made by the Government of Assam during the last two years, the report said.

Following the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between the Government of India and Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) in 2003, the Government of India had agreed to provide a financial assistance of Rs 100 crore per annum for five years for projects to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in BTC areas over and above the normal Plan assistance to Assam.

The Government of India further announced a fresh tranche of Rs 250 crore as assistance for the integrated development of the (BTC) areas in August 2008.

The committee therefore recommended that the balance utilisation certificates be submitted at the earliest by the Assam government and the remaining projects completed at the earliest.

The Parliamentary panel also slammed the DoNER Ministry for its failure to utilise funds. The committee was disappointed to note the inability of the Ministry to utilise the funds completely for various plan schemes like NLCPR, NESRIP. This shortfall in financial targets was unacceptable in these critical schemes as it cast a shadow over the absorption capacity of the implementing agencies of the programmes.

The committee also noted that one project was yet to be completed from among the 42 sanctioned projects under the package sanctioned in 2003. Non-completion of all the projects in a long time span of 12 yeas does not present a good picture, it remarked.

Meanwhile, the Committee expressed concerned about the huge shortfall of Rs. 714.71 crore in the approved budgetary allocation as compared to projected demands and wonders as to how the Ministry will make up for this huge deficit.