Change of sites for market sheds by ZP cost lakhs of rupees: CAG
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 2: An amount of Rs 15 lakh was wasted on construction of market shed due to uuthorized change of sites to private lands by junior engineers (JEs) and failure on the part of the Cachar Zila Parishad CEO to monitor the works after releasing funds to the JEs.
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on local bodies for the year ended on March 31, 2016 said that the Assam Government had accorded sanction and released Rs 8 crore in March 2013 under 13th Fince Commission grants for the 2012-13 for construction of new market sheds to eight districts – Barpeta, Cachar, Dhubri, Golaghat, Jorhat, Morigaon, gaon and Sonitpur – at the rate of Rs 1 crore each for promoting rural business hubs. The fund was released specifying the detailed location, address etc., of each market shed proposed by the zila parishads (ZPs). As per the release order, it was to be ensured by the CEOs that the lands for the construction of the market sheds were free from all encumbrances and that the project was completed within three months from the date of sanction. Besides other instructions, it was also specifically mentioned in the release order that the CEO of the ZP concerned must be held responsible for any misuse or misappropriation of the funds.
In September 2013 the CEO of Cachar ZP accorded administrative approval of Rs 12.50 lakh each for the construction of market sheds at eight different locations in the district against an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh for each market. Rs 7.50 lakh each of the Rs 12.50 lakh was released in September 2013 as first installment to the junior engineers for execution of the works in respect of eight market sheds with an instruction to utilize the amount as per plan and estimate within a month and to submit the progress report of the work from time to time.
In November 2015 test check of records of Cachar ZP CEO revealed that in two instances the JEs changed the approved sites of market sheds to other locations without any approval from the competent authority. Reasons for change of locations of the market sheds were neither found on records, nor could be explained by the present CEO. Moreover, the lands selected for market sheds were private lands and no registered deed was executed for transferring the ownership of the lands to Cachar ZP. The land on which the market shed was constructed at Mohanpur was re-occupied by the land owner after the ZP had incurred an expenditure of Rs 7.50 lakh and now stands abandoned. Further, the construction of the market shed at the approved site at Rajgar was also incomplete till March 2016 as the work was abandoned by the JE without citing any reason. The present CEO stated that the JE might have misappropriated the money as he had not submitted details of expenditure on the market shed. The then CEO had not taken any action against the erring JEs.