KHADC to seek clarification on health fund use

SHILLONG, July 6: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has decided to ask the Ministry of Finance to clarify if the autonomous district councils (ADCs) can implement the health sector grant sanctioned according to the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.
Replying during the Question Hour on the first day of the council’s summer session here on Wednesday, KHADC chief executive member Titosstarwell Chyne said a delegation of the Executive Committee (EC) had met Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma for releasing funds earmarked for the council under the health sector grant.
The chief minister had assured the release of the funds, he said.
“But I feel there is an attempt on the part of some state government officers to mislead on this matter. In the past few months, the state government has constituted the village health council with the intention to implement the health sector funds. But I want to assure this House that the council at any cost will not let this fund be diverted,” Chyne said.
He said an EC delegation will meet the chief minister again for the release of the funds to the council immediately.
According to Chyne, the state government will have to pay interest if it fails to release the funds on time.
He said there are four components of the health sector grant. The first is for the conversion of rural PHCs and sub-centres to health and wellness centres for which the Ministry of Finance has sanctioned ₹9.28.
The second component is on building fewer sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs where ₹3.21 crore has been sanctioned for the state, Chyne said.
The third component is for the urban health and wellness centre for which ₹23.30 crore has been sanctioned. The fourth is the block level public health unit for which ₹9.25 crore has been allocated, he said.
Earlier, Congress MDC Carness Sohtun questioned the delay by the state government in releasing the health-related funds. He said the funds should be released to the ADCs, which are recognised rural local bodies for implementing funds.
“We need to pressure the government to release this fund. The state government cannot divert the funds meant for the council,” Sohtun said.
The Congress MDC also expressed concern over the statement of DCA Minister Lahkmen Rymbui that the state government will stop releasing funds to the ADCs if they fail to maintain their records and submit their utilisation certificates on time.
To a question raised by Opposition leader P.N. Syiem on the final steps to be taken by the EC if there is no positive response from the state government, Chyne said the EC will write to the Ministry of Finance to inform about the non-release of funds.
Meanwhile, Chyne said the first instalment of the tied scheme for 2022-2023 has been received.
“We have also received the funds of both the first and second instalment of the tied scheme for 2021-2022,” he added.

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