The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thus, non-implementation of the scheme not only deprived the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes of the benefit of the scheme but also unnecessarily blocked up funds worth Rs 14.25 lakh for more than two and a half years and resulted in unfruitful expenditure of Rs 0.75 lakh.

The work relating to construction of “55 metres long reinforced steel joist bridge at Mukul Danga under Rudanga GP” (Coochbehar), sanctioned during 1999-2000 at an estimated cost Rs 21.46 lakh, was taken up through a contractor in May 2000 on the basis of “single tender” (invited in April 2000) as per the decision of the “Purta-Karja-Sthayee-Samity” of the panchayat samiti in violation of financial rules.

The work for “improvement of Hazrahat-Giladanga village path (0-3 kilometre)” under Mathabhanga sub-division (Coochbehar), sanctioned during March 2000 at an estimated cost of Rs 16 lakh, was taken up by the executive engineer, public works department, Coochbehar division, in May 2000 on the basis of a single tender in violation of the PWD code, volume one. However, work was completed (March 2001) for the stretch of 0 to 2.1 km (instead of 0 to 3 km) at a cost of Rs 13.72 lakh on the basis of revised PWD schedule of rates (1999-2000), though there was no such provision in the agreement which entailed a cost escalation of Rs 4.98 lakh on pro rata basis.

During the period under review, in 16 cases Rs 1.81 crore was sanctioned to Coochbehar district from the special Central assistance fund for implementation of community development schemes, in contravention of the government of India guidelines for SCA.

Of the sanctioned amount of Rs 9.22 crore under SCA and “basic minimum service” programme during 1996-2001, Rs 7.10 crore was released by the backward classes welfare officer, Coochbehar, to implementing agencies for implementation of 257 schemes without considering the density or percentage of SC and ST population.

Of Rs 2.29 crore sanctioned by the GOI under Article 275(I) of the Constitution, during 1994-2000, for implementation of developmental schemes of the Lodha community in Medinipur, Bankura and South 24 Parganas districts, Rs 57.70 lakh only was sub-allotted between February 1997 and January 2001 by the project officer-cum-district welfare officers to the executing agencies for implementation of schemes and Rs 11.28 lakh was diverted between August 1994 and January 2000 for purposes not covered under the scheme, leaving an unspent balance of Rs 1.60 crore...

Banks sanctioned about 67 per cent of the cases during the last quarter of the respective financial year, due to delayed sponsoring of cases by the gram panchayats, thereby restricting the scope of holding pre-sanction joint inspection scrutiny of projects to ascertain their viability. Further, the West Bengal Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development and Finance Corporation did not ensure the existence of sufficient inputs for survival of the projects undertaken by adopting “cluster-cum-saturation approach”. In effect, selection of non-viable projects caused major hindrance in successful implementation of programmes.

No effective steps were taken by the WBSCS-TDFC/government to ensure disbursement of full project cost to the beneficiaries by banks and to stop the practice of early/immediate refunding of loan component to banks by beneficiaries, leading to under-financing and thus unviability of the projects ab initio. Moreover, total dependence of WBSCSTDFC on participating banks in executing the programme led to non-achievement of the objectives at desired level.

As per guidelines issued by GOI, prescribed spot evaluation of the projects to ascertain the creation of assets and their operation were to be carried out by the implementing agencies, namely the district manager/assistant manager/field organizer of the WBSCSTDFC. However, scrutiny revealed that no such spot evaluation was done since 1994-95. Reasons for non-enforcement/monitoring by the department was not stated.

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