Monday, 30th October 2017

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Village roads go nowhere - CAG pulls up state for mess in another scheme

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 30.08.11
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Ranchi, Aug. 29: A Comptroller & Auditor General’s report, tabled in the Assembly today, has pulled up the state for poor implementation of a central government scheme for rural roads, pointing to substandard work, fraudulent payments to unscrupulous contractors and serious financial irregularities.

Only nine per cent of rural habitations were connected with all weather roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) between 2005 and 2010, the five years that saw three chief ministers — Arjun Munda, Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren — and two spells of President’s rule in Jharkhand.

“Jharkhand completed only 164 roads in order to provide connectivity to 496 habitations against the target of 1,957 rural roads to be constructed for providing connectivity to 5,427 targeted habitations,” the CAG report said, in what will be another black mark in the state’s dismal record of implementing centrally sponsored schemes.

The objective of PMGSY, launched in 2000, was to link hitherto unconnected habitations in rural areas according to specific deadlines. All habitats with a population of 1,000 or more were to be covered in three years (2000-2003), while those with a population of 500 or more by the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan i.e. 2007.

The report has painted a sorry picture of a state where no system of checks and balances seem to work. Contractors submitted fake invoices for buying bitumen, government money was spent in the name of bitumen and false entries were made in logbooks to claim that work was completed.

Specifically, the report pointed out that five contractors, who submitted fake invoices in Chakradharpur, Daltonganj, Deoghar, Gumla, Giridih and Ranchi, were paid Rs 1.07 crore.

Similarly, Rs 2.33 crore was fraudulently paid to contractors as cost of bitumen against submission of inadmissible invoices in Bokaro, Chaibasa, Chakradharpur, Dumka, Deoghar and Giridih.

“Contractors were favoured in realisation of liquidated damages, grant of mobilisation advances and equipment advances. The quality of roads was compromised due to non-rectification of defects repo-rted by the National Quality Monitor/State Quality Monitor as well as doubtful procurement of bitumen,” the report said.

In another instance of fraud, a contractor was paid Rs 68.69 lakh for building a road (2.60km Gangjori More to Barmasia road in Bokaro), which had already been constructed from state funds.

The CAG also detected expenditure to the tune of Rs 96.11 crore on 86 roads without bridges, defeating the very purpose of the scheme to provide all weather connectivity.

These roads were in Bokaro, Chakradharpur, Daltonganj, Deoghar, Dumka, Giridih, Gumla and Ranchi.

CAG also pointed out:

• Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences equipment, bought spending crores of rupees, lie unused for months
• Rs 91 lakh wasted on a botched pilot training scheme for 28 SC/ST and OBC youths
• Rs 1.35 crore aquarium and snake house in Ranchi zoo yet to become operational