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Delay of UCs affects border area development

GUWAHATI, June 10: The development of international border in Assam continues to suffer the consequences of the present Government at Dispur inheriting an evil legacy from the former Congress government – that of not submitting utilization certificates (UCs) on time.

Despite allocation of funds by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Dispur cannot get funds due to non-submission of UCs on time. Non-submission of UCs on time is a precedent set in Assam by the previous Congress government. Even as there has been some improvement in the submission of UCs under the present dispensation at Dispur, still the State government has not been able to get crores of rupees allocated by the MHA for the development of international borders in Assam. Assam shares international borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Funds under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) come to the State from the MHA. According to an MHA report, total allocation of BADP funds for Assam during the past three fiscals – 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 – was Rs 145.82 crore. Of this, according to the report, only Rs 81.26 crore was released as on December 31, 2017. The remaining Rs 64.86 crore has not been released due to non-submission of UCs by Dispur.

According to the MHA report, Rs 30.66 crore of the total allocation of Rs 33.82 crore for Assam under BADP in 2015-16 was released, Rs 34.05 core of the total allocation of Rs 56 crore in 2016-17 was released, and only Rs 16.50 crore of the total allocation of Rs 56 crore in 2017-18 was released.

When contacted on the reason behind such delay in the submission of UCs for BADP funds in the State, an official of the State Border Protection and Development Department said: “UCs for BADP funds come through deputy commissioners who have to depend on project-executing departments like PWD, Irrigation, Water Resources, PHE etc for UCs. Because of non-submission of UCs, not a single paisa could be received from the MHA by the State in fiscal 2013-14.”

The official of the Border Protection and Development Department further said: “Now we’re trying to find out where the ailment relating to non-submission of UCs lies – in the DC offices or in the departments executing BADP works or in our department itself. However, we’ve asked all deputy commissioners to ensure submission of UCs on time.”