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Pre-monsoon arrives: spars still broken!

Pre-monsoon arrives: spars still broken!

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

SDRF funds released now: when would work be done?


GUWAHATI, March 7: The saying ‘time and tide wait for none’ seems to have no takers among the top officials in the some of the departments that keep waiting for pre-monsoon rains to the release SDRF (State Disaster Respond Fund) for renovation of the breached embankments in the State. The new dispensation has opted to keep the Congress legacy of releasing SDRF funds too late alive as if to make proper spending of such funds a hazy affair.

Assam experiences pre-monsoon rains in April. This year the State, especially upper Assam, is experiencing pre-monsoon rains now. Some areas of lower Assam are also witnessing rains now. It is a fact that pre-monsoon rains in Assam are heavy enough to cause the season’s first wave of floods. This essentially makes it crystal clear that the season for renovation of embankments is at its fag-end in the State now and the contractors will be left with a very short span of time to go ahead with the repair works. For reasons best known to them, the State Revenue and Disaster Magement Department opted to approve proposals for schemes for repair of embankments under the SDRF worth Rs 168.52 crore at a meeting on February 27, 2018. The schemes under SDRF are still to get the mandatory approval from the Fince Department before the issuance of administrative approval of the schemes.

Since SDRF funds come from the Union Home Ministry under 90:10 funding pattern, any scheme under it has to get Fince Department’s approval so as to meet the norm set by the Union Home Ministry. It is as clear as daylight that more time is needed for these schemes to get approval from the Fince department before getting administrative approval. Such a reality is bound to shorten further the span of time for working in the field for the contractors. Under such situations, some of the contractors of the Water Resources Department in the State are alleged to resorting to shoddy works, literally throwing funds down the drains. There were allegations of contractors engaging goons to uproot porcupines erected in vulnerable river banks so as to show them as the works done and washed away floods in the past.

The first wave of floods in the State is like a mercy from the Rain God for contractors who can show huge expenditure to have washed away by waves of floods. Under such situations they can mislead officials assessing expenditure on embankment repair works.

Has this late approval of schemes for the repair of embankments in the State any hidden agenda like that? Such an allegation holds much water as MLAs, regardless of party affiliation, were on record shouting full-throttle on the floor of the State Assembly against the late release of SDRF funds in almost every Assembly session.

Does not it reek of the same old story – throwing SDRF funds down the drain?

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