By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, March 14: A crisis-hit Fince department has imposed an undeclared restriction on issue of ceilings (fixation of ceiling or FOC) against bills.
Official sources said demands from different departments worth hundreds of crores are pending with the Fince department which is uble to clear them due to undisclosed reasons. But sources said it was due to lack of funds in the State exchequer.
The Public Works department, which is involved in major infrastructural works, has been the worst hit. The pending demands of the department are to the tune of several hundred crores.
The departments are now in two minds, whether to send fresh demands or wait till the pending ones are cleared. The contractors, meanwhile, are caught in a sticky situation.
Beginning Holi, State government offices will be closed for five days at a stretch from March 23. This leaves very little time for the departments to get clearance from the Fince department on their pending demands. If the ceilings are not issued before March 31, it will carry over to the next fincial year.
The full-fledged budget of the State is expected to be presented by the new government in July-August. But by the time the budget communication is done, it will be December. That means, if the Fince department does not issue ceiling by March, the contractors are unlikely to get their payments before next year.
Since the last few weeks, the Fince department is issuing ceilings only of some Central schemes and schemes of State Plan which are mostly funded by the Centre. Release of funds pertaining to schemes under non-Plan head is being restricted. The Fince department is also citing enforcement of model code of conduct for the non-release of funds.
It appears that only State government employees are getting their salaries regularly, as promised by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. All other payments, including those related to developmental works, have come to a standstill.