Thursday, December 7, 2023

Govt wasted money on pvt firms: CAG


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Sep 26: The state government wasted more than Rs 170 crore of public money in the last few years due to wrong planning and undue financial benefit to private companies, the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General has revealed.
The waste of money earned from taxing people was avoidable, it said.
In one of the most glaring instances, the CAG pointed out that despite an advisory from the cabinet secretary, the injudicious decision of the MePDCL to award works under the Saubhagya scheme to contractors at their quoted rates resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 156.14 crore.
The audit body similarly found that the reimbursement of insurance charges without obtaining documentary evidence in support thereof, resulted in undue financial benefit to the turnkey contractors (TKCs) under DDUGJY and Saubhagya to the tune of Rs 1.96 crore.
There was also an instance when the award of three works under DDUGJY phase I to L2 bidders instead of L1 bidders resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 90 lakh.
While the CAG continues to publish these irregularities for years, there has been hardly any report of action being taken by the government barring the issuance of simple clarifications.
The CAG report on the health sector also pointed out that the inability of the state nodal agency to protect the interest of the government in the efficient implementation of MHIS IV and PMJAY resulted in the extension of undue financial benefit of Rs 11.38 crore to the insurance company of the scheme.
Another observation of the CAG was that the injudicious decision of the MePDCL to divert the financial assistance received under UDAY for payment of other loans/liabilities of the company and invest the balance funds in short-term fixed deposits instead of making immediate repayment of the outstanding loan for which the fund was released, resulted in the avoidable expenditure of Rs 2.37 crore towards payment of interest and penal interest.
The CAG further observed that the procurement of medicines at rates higher than those approved by the Central Purchase Board from non-approved manufacturers by the DHS(MI) resulted in the avoidable excess expenditure of Rs 87 lakh.
The CAG in another instance observed that the injudicious selection of the site Saiden Nongpoh for setting up a modern and hygienic fish market led to its non-utilisation even after more than three years of the completion resulting in idle expenditure of Rs 1.44 crore.
The CAG also observed that due to a lack of coordinated approach in the implementation of the modernisation and upgradation of the fruit processing unit at Dainadubi, the project remained incomplete even after 10 years of its sanctioning. The expenditure incurred on the project amounting to Rs 1.11 crore not only proved infructuous but also deprived the local farmers of the economic benefits of a modernised fruit processing facility, it said.


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