“In JMC, an audit noticed that the actual site of construction of IHHLs by NGOs was not mentioned in records in respect of 339 beneficiaries. As per records 331 beneficiaries had addresses of locations falling outside the jurisdiction of JMC and eight beneficiaries had addresses of other states”
It won’t be perhaps wrong to say that the officials and officers of Housing and Urban Development (H&UDD), Government of Jammu and Kashmir, have shown little interest in the implementation of the ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), which has reportedly resulted into wasteful expenditure in crores.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General, in SMC assistance of Rs 1.09 crore was paid to 1,828 beneficiaries as 1st installment of Rs 6,000 each for conversion of insanitary latrines into sanitary latrines.
“Audit noticed that as of September 2021, 2nd installment had not been released in their favour. No reasons were on record for non-release of 2nd installment in favour of the beneficiaries. Out of 1,828 beneficiaries, 51 were selected in seven selected wards of SMC for joint physical verification/ beneficiary survey with departmental staff of SMC,” reads the CAG report, adding that it was noticed during joint physical verification/ beneficiary survey that none of the selected beneficiaries had constructed pits/ septic tanks and were still discharging the human waste/ excrete of their toilets into open surface drains.
It stated that non-conducting surveys for identification of beneficiaries had resulted in wasteful expenditure of ₹ 1.09 crore (including ₹ 3.06 lakh paid to these 51 beneficiaries) paid to these 1,828 beneficiaries. Thus, SMC had shown in the records wrong achievement of conversion of 1,828 insanitary IHHLs into sanitary units.
“The Director Finance, H&UDD stated that the SMC had initiated a re-verification survey by ward officers, sanitary supervisors and sanitary inspectors and in case delinquency was found, notices would be issued to complete the work and in case of non-compliance, recovery proceedings including imposition of penalty would be initiated,” reads the report.
It further added that Rs 19.87 crore was paid to NGOs in 20 ULBs8 for construction of 12,297 IHHLs for identified beneficiaries.
“Audit noticed that IHHLs constructed by NGOs for beneficiaries were not closely monitored to see whether work was executed as per approved specifications as no monitoring reports were on record,” observed the CAG, adding, “Instead of making payment in stages as envisaged in empanelment and allotment orders, the payments were made to NGOs in lumpsum.”
The photographic evidence in support of having closely monitored the physical progress of construction work in stages was not kept on record. Audit selected 1,315 cases of IHHLs for collection of data in respect of completion certificates obtained from beneficiaries for passing payments in favour of NGOs and noticed that in respect of 364 IHHLs completion certificates were not on record; in respect of 123 IHHLs completion certificates though signed by beneficiaries were not authenticated by the ULB authorities and in six cases completion certificates were not signed by beneficiaries.
“Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Council Shopian stated that final installment has been released to the NGOs after obtaining completion certificate/ verification from the monitoring committee duly signed by the beneficiary, Junior Engineer and Executive Officer,” reads the report.
Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Council Anantnag stated that the technical verification in respect of these units was received from concerned AEE and all completion certificates were signed by the CEO as well as by the Engineering staff.
“The reply is not based on fact as no completion certificates of beneficiaries were on record. The Director Finance, H&UDD stated that payment was released to the NGOs after obtaining requisite certificate from the beneficiaries/ JE/ CEO,” reads the CAG report, adding, “The reply is not based on fact as out of 1,315 selected cases of IHHLs completion certificates in respect of 364 IHHLs were not on record and in respect of 123 IHHLs completion certificates though signed by beneficiaries were not authenticated by the ULB authorities and in six cases completion certificates were not signed by beneficiaries.”
The replies were not convincing, as no monitoring reports and photographic evidence in support of having closely monitored the physical progress of construction work in stages were on record and payments were made to NGOs in lump sum.
In JMC, an audit noticed that the actual site of construction of IHHLs by NGOs was not mentioned in records in respect of 339 beneficiaries. As per records 331 beneficiaries had addresses of locations falling outside the jurisdiction of JMC and eight beneficiaries had addresses of other states.
The Director Finance, H&UDD stated (August 2022) that re-verification had been initiated by a committee constituted for the purpose and that if any ineligible beneficiary was found the recovery proceedings would be initiated. These lapses on the part of ULB authorities cast doubt over genuineness of construction of IHHLs by NGOs, as well as over the genuineness of expenditure incurred on these constructions. Doubtful construction of IHHLs by NGOs was also corroborated by physical verification and beneficiary survey.