Funds under NLCPR allegedly siphoned off
From a Correspondent
New Delhi, July 19: The Centre has initiated an enquiry into the alleged siphoning off of anti-erosion funds by a former Congress MP in Assam.
The Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has started the investigation following reports that central funds under Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) amounting to Rs 731.1 lakh and 539.99 lakh for two different anti-erosion projects have been siphoned off.
The two projects were sanctioned on December 28, 2012 to protect harkatia town from erosion by Burhi-Dehing river at Jagon gaon area and Dehingpuria near Margherita town. The central funds were released following demands from former Dibrugarh Congress MP Pawan Singh Ghatowar.
“Yes we have sent teams to enquire into the anomalies,” revealed a top official of the DoNER ministry to The Sentinel.
Although both the projects were supposed to be completed by last year, the ministry did not get any report about that. In both cases, the Assam government has intimated to the ministry that Rs 263 lakhs and Rs 194.4 lakhs were utilised. ‘In fact, we have also not received the utilization certificate of funds,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Ironically, due to non-submission of utilization certificates, further funding for the projects was halted by the Centre till 2014. A statistics in possession of this correspondent said that similar complaints of misappropriation of funds in Brahmaputra Board, an autonomous statutory body under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion have been received.
According to government records, there are 21.3 per cent extremely vulnerable embankments, 53.6 per cent vulnerable embankments and 25.1 per cent reasobly safe embankments in Assam.
During the XII Plan, 41 schemes have been included under Flood Magement Programme (FMP) for effective flood and erosion mitigation of river Brahmaputra, Barak and its tributaries. Another 54 schemes have been formulated and are under different stages of processing at Central Water Commission and the NITI Aayog.