The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The national backward classes finance and development corporation credit-linked programme was launched in August 1999 in the state through the West Bengal backward classes development and finance corporation set up (October 1995) for rendering financial assistance to persons belonging to other backward classes and living below the poverty line. The schemes were to be implemented by the project officer-cum-district welfare officers in the districts. The West Bengal state cooperative bank (sole banker) with its associate district central cooperative banks were to act as a conduit for channelizing the loans and recovery thereof.

The WBBCDFC received Rs 11.25 crore from NBCFDC as term loan and Rs 2.54 crore as share capital from the government of West Bengal during 1998-2001. Against 1,839 cases approved, 849 cases were finally sanctioned involving an amount of Rs 5.33 crore during 1999-2001; no cases were, however, sanctioned in 1998-90.

Scrutiny of records of the WBBCDFC further revealed the following: an amount of Rs 4.52 crore was refunded (April-July 2000) to NBCFDC due to non-utilization of funds and also to avoid penal interest. An amount of Rs 3.50 crore received (Rs 2 crore in August 2000 and Rs 1.50 crore in June 1999) had been kept in “fixed deposit” in the West Bengal state co-operative bank. An amount of Rs 0.41 crore was repaid to NBCFDC until March 2002.

Recovery of Rs 0.32 crore (50 per cent) was made from the beneficiaries against an overdue loan amount of Rs 0.65 crore (March 2001). The number of beneficiaries involved was not available.

Test-check of records of the five selected districts revealed that against the target of 684 to 932 cases, 690 cases were sponsored by the PO-cum-DWOs/backward class welfare officers, of which the WBBCDFC sanctioned/disbursed 203 cases involving Rs 1.60 crore leading to a shortfall of 71 per cent in the sanctioning of cases. The WBBCDFC did not offer any reasons for such shortfall...

For giving adequate weightage towards infrastructure incidentals to family oriented schemes various community development schemes were to be taken up. According to the guidelines of the government of India, 25 per cent of the special Central assistance fund was to be utilized for implementation of CD schemes. Besides, funds from the basic minimum services was also provided for infrastructural development works from the year 1999-2000...

Audit analysis revealed that of the sanctioned amount, records in respect of detailed expenditure of Rs 219.05 lakh (1996-99) for implementation of different developmental schemes in Bankura were not made available for scrutiny, while Rs 27.11 lakh released (June 2000) to the zilla parishad, Bankura, for execution of two schemes was not traceable in the records of the zilla parishad.

As per the resolution of the district welfare committee, Rs 39.44 lakh was released by the PO-cum-DWO, Medinipur, during 1999-2000 to 27 panchayat samitis on an ad hoc basis, without plans and estimates and number of schemes to be executed.

Against Rs 21.82 crore involving 937 schemes, utilization certificates for Rs 13.88 crore (64 per cent) relating to 479 schemes were not obtained from the executing agencies for onward transmission to the government (March 2001).

Rupees 38.50 lakh (Rs 13.50 lakh for scheduled caste and Rs 25 lakh for scheduled tribe areas) earmarked for Medinipur district for the years 1997-98 and 1999-2000 lapsed owing to non-submission of schemes in time by the PO-cum-DWO. Further, Rs 5.75 lakh earmarked during 1997-98 could not be released (January 2001) by the PO-cum-DWO to one panchayat samiti owing to non-submission of scheme.

Utilization certificate for Rs 31.21 lakh was furnished by 3 panchayat samitis (Coochbehar — 1, Medinipur — 2) against actual expenditure of Rs 22.03 lakh...

Rupees 22.95 lakh, sanctioned by the BCW department for construction of a low cost hume pipe vented causeway at Papatpur under Binpur-I panchayat samiti, was transferred (July 1995) to the bank account of the corporation. Subsequently, the DWC in its meeting (February 2000) proposed, in lieu of the original work, to change the work as well as site of construction and directed (March 2000) the Medinipur zilla parishad to prepare the plans and estimates for the “construction of a causeway over river Bhairab-Baki” under Binpur-I panchayat samiti. No plans and estimates were, however, received from the zilla parishad (January 2001). Thus, delay in finalization of the scheme resulted in blocking up the fund for more than 6 years, besides depriving beneficiaries of the scheme.

The district magistrate, Coochebehar, sanctioned (September 1998) Rs 15 lakh in favour of the backward class welfare officer, Coochbehar, for implementation of a housing scheme for “rehabilitation of people of economically weaker section of Lichutala and Khalasipatty”, out of fund allocated under BMS programme. The scheme was ultimately cancelled (March 2001) and the district magistrate ordered (March 2001) the BCWO, Coochbehar, to place Rs 15 lakh with the local fund account of the Coochbehar zilla parishad. The BCWO, Coochbehar, deposited (April 2001) Rs 14.25 lakh in the LF account of Coochbehar zilla parishad after incurring an expenditure of Rs 0.75 lakh towards preparation of plan and estimates, soil testing contingency, and so on.

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