*DDB review meetings of several districts yet to be convened
JAMMU, Jan 18: In a big question mark on the performance of the Government, over 2400 works taken up under 13th Finance Commission are yet to be completed in Jammu and Kashmir despite the fact that award period had concluded in 2015. Moreover, the Government has failed to ensure full utilization of allocation under District Capex Budget during the past two years thereby depriving the people of many developmental works.
The Finance Commission is established after every five years for the purpose of allocation of certain resources of revenue between the Union and the State Governments. It is established under Article 280 of the Constitution of India by the President.
The 13th Finance Commission was established for the period 2010-15 and it had allocated whopping funds for Jammu and Kashmir for carrying out different developmental activities. As per the guidelines, the works taken up under the award of Finance Commission are to be completed within a period of five years and for completion of works which remain incomplete during this period the State is required to bear the rest of the expenditure.
Under the award of 13th Finance Commission, a total of 7016 developmental works were taken up in the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj sector in both the divisions of Jammu and Kashmir. Of these, 4540 works were taken up in Jammu region and 2476 in Kashmir province. However, 2461 works—1403 in Jammu division and 1058 in Kashmir division are yet to be completed by the concerned agencies of State Government despite the fact that 13th Finance Commission Award period came to an end in 2015.
This was admitted by none else than the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in the Legislative Assembly in reply to the question of MLA Altaf Ahmad Wani.
Against construction of 735 Panchayat Ghars in Jammu division, the Government has completed only 298 and 437 are still under progress. Similarly, 2123 assets creation works were taken up under 13th Finance Commission but 1837 works have been completed and 286 are pending despite the fact that award period is already over.
As far as culverts/bridges are concerned, 137 works were taken up in Jammu division but 60 are still under progress while all the 35 community facility-cum-training centres taken up under 13th FC are still incomplete. Out of 169 flood protection works taken up under 13th FC, only 52 have been completed and remaining 117 are still under progress.
As far as Kashmir division is concerned, construction of 727 Apna Panchayat Ghars was taken up under 13th Finance Commission Award but only 412 have been completed till date and remaining 312 are still under progress. Against 241 works vis-à-vis construction of incomplete buildings only 105 have been completed till date while as fate of 136 others is still hanging in balance.
Similarly, none of the 23 Community Facility Centres and 15 Block Development Council buildings has been completed till date and all have been shown as ‘under progress’ in the official record, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
About the flood protection works, the record reveals that a total of 102 works were taken up under 13th Finance Commission Award in Kashmir division but only 19 have been completed and 83 are still under progress.
Expressing inability to specify time-frame for the completion of these pending works, official sources said, “the completion of these works depends upon the availability of the funds, which are required to be arranged by the State Government in view of the guidelines of the 13th Finance Commission”.
“These figures have put big question mark on the performance of the Government and its various organs”, sources said, adding “had there been a proper mechanism to ensure strict compliance to the timelines fixed under 13th Finance Commission Award the prevailing situation could have been avoided”.
Not only on ensuring timely completion of works taken up under 13th Finance Commission, the State Government has also failed to ensure full utilization of funds available under District Capex Budget.
This can be gauged from the data of Planning, Development and Monitoring Department headed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti which was placed in the Legislative Assembly in response to the question of National Conference MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar.
During the financial year 2015-16, allocation of Rs 315086.33 lakh was made for all the 22 districts of the State and during the financial year 2016-17, the allocation for the 22 districts under District Capex Budget was to the tune of Rs 317865.32 lakh.
However, the expenditure during 2015-16 under District Capex Budget was recorded at Rs 211739.18 lakh thereby leaving Rs 103347.15 lakh as unutilized. The expenditure during the current financial year up to ending November 2016 was Rs 81452.8 lakh against allocation of Rs 317865.32 lakh thereby leaving Rs 236412.52 lakh as unspent.
Moreover, the Government has yet not convened review meetings of District Development Boards of Srinagar, Anantnag, Udhampur, Doda and Kishtwar despite the fact that only two and half months have left for the completion of current financial year.