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A sizeable share from the Prime Minister’s “developmental” package for reconstruction of public sector infrastructure damaged during 2014 floods has been spent in clear violation of laid down guidelines, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed in its latest report. 

The report on performance audit of disaster management for 2016 has found that Rs 42.24 crore of Special Plan Assistance (SPA) were utilized on works and items which were not covered under the scheme.

Following the deluge, New Delhi as part of the package released Rs 1000 crore for rebuilding damaged infrastructure. “However Rs 42.24 crore of SPA were utilized on works and items which were not covered under the SPA guidelines,” reads the CAG report.

At least 79 works which were not damaged due to the floods were taken up by three departments at a cost of Rs 30.48 crore.

According to the report, Rs 9.01 crore were spent on maintenance and repair works by Power Development Department in Jammu even as these works were not attributable to the flood package.

“A scrutiny of the works included in the sanction order revealed that expenditure of Rs 9.01 crore included items such as power transformers, hydraulic cranes, excavators, renovation of distribution workshops/buildings and normal repairs and works which were not directly attributable to the floods in Jammu province,” the report reveals, adding the expenditure of Rs 4.95 crore was incurred on 14 works of government residential quarters and civil secretariat Jammu, which were not necessitated by floods.

The report also states that eight works of PHE department which were not mentioned in the damage reports were sanctioned for Jammu district under SPA at an estimated cost of Rs 11.49 crore.

“Nine Lift Irrigation Schemes (estimated cost Rs 2.06 crore) of Akhnoor were sanctioned under SPA despite the fact that these schemes  had started during 2007-08  to 2011-12 and  were under implementation under Centrally sponsored  scheme(AIBP)/ District Sector schemes at the time of floods,” the report states.

It says that Rs 1.20 crore meant for rebuilding damaged infrastructure were utilized on mulba clearance, payment of wages to casual laborers, construction of pre-existing schemes  and payment of consultancy charges.

Pointing out  further chinks in spending the funds under the package, the report states: “Audit noticed that payment of Rs 2.08 crore  which pertained to the expenditure incurred on the construction of a bridge before floods was debited to the SPA.”

In a sensational disclosure, the report also states that Rs 83 lakh were spent on purchase of bitumen, POL, hiring of vehicles, preparation for VVIP visit, elections 2014, January 26 functions, charges of trucks pertaining to period prior to floods.

 “A sum of Rs 3.61 was spent out of SPA on restoration and renovation of 24 residential quarters in Srinagar despite the fact that expenditure of Rs 1.22 crore and Rs 0.45 was incurred out of SDRF and State Plan on the same work,” said the report.