Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Stop patronising ADCs: AITC

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SHILLONG, June 19: The proliferation of allegations of gross financial irregularities in implementation of centrally sponsored schemes coupled with the non-maintenance of accounts of expenditure by the three autonomous district councils and the lack of action by the state government has prompted the opposition All India Trinamool Congress to accuse the ruling coalition of being condescending. It asked the state government to firm up and stop the flow of funds to the ADCs if they fail to abide by constitutional obligations.
AITC state leader George B Lyngdoh on Sunday said the government should first give a warning to the ADCs before going after them. “If they still fail, stringent actions, to the extent of stopping funds going to them, should be taken,” Lyngdoh categorically stated.
His statement was in the context of the inordinate delay by the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) in replying to the District Council Affairs department on the “misutilisation” of centrally sponsored Special Assistance Grant (SAG) funds and the non-maintenance of finances as highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Lyngdoh said the government should show its earnestness in responding to the call of duty by stopping the funds going to the ADCs if they are not able to perform their duties or fail to abide by the constitutional obligations.
He insisted the rules are adhered to and the guidelines maintained, especially when it is about financial management.
He said the poor handling of finance will not only bring problems and make people level charges of corruption, it will also affect the confidence that they should get the funds which come from the Centre.
Stressing that solving the problems of accounts and financial management should have been a priority for the institutions, the opposition chief whip said, “If the government feels they are not responding, what is holding it back from stopping the funds going to these institutions?”
It is to be noted that financial mismanagement and allegations of gross anomalies in the implementation of schemes have become the hallmark of the ADCs. In the absence of any monitoring by the state government, particularly the District Council Affairs department, the councils have been getting away with their misdeeds.
Despite allegations of gross financial anomalies and the growing demand for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the state government had paid no heed and instead, ordered an audit of the JHADC and GHADC accounts for the last 10 years by the Directorate of Local Fund Audit (DLFA).
The DLFA had detected several anomalies in the implementation of SAG by the GHADC and the JHADC.
It compiled a report on its findings and submitted it to the DCA department. The department had written to both councils in February seeking their response on the DLFA findings. They have not responded so far, a senior government official had told The Shillong Times.

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