Monitoring languishing projects through Spl teams on papers only

Reports awaited from Concurrent Audit Teams since Sept last

*Many works of different sectors fail to meet timelines


Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Aug 1: The much-needed monitoring of thousands of languishing projects across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has remained on the papers only because district-wise Concurrent Audit Teams have yet not started submitting monthly reports although explicit directions in this regard were issued over 10 months back.
The dilly-dallying approach on the part of the Concurrent Audit Teams is notwithstanding the fact that several languishing projects in different sectors have failed to meet the time-lines for their completion mainly for want of supervision and constant monitoring.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the necessity of getting the physical and financial audit of the languishing projects conducted through the Concurrent Audit Teams was felt during the 4th and 5th Board of Directors meetings of the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation Limited held in the months of June and August last year.
Accordingly, the Financial Commissioner, Finance Department Dr Arun Kumar Mehta vide Government Order No.435-F dated September 27, 2019 constituted Concurrent Audit Team is each district under the overall control and supervision of the District Development Commissioners (DDCs).
The teams headed by Additional District Development Commissioner and comprised of one Assistant Engineer each from Public Works Department, Public Health Engineering Department and Power Development Department, Accounts Officer of Audit and Inspection, Assistant Director of Economics and Statistics Department, one JE each from the PWD, PHE and PDD and Chartered Accountants were given the mandate of conducting physical and financial audit of all the projects being implemented under “Languishing Scheme” and funded by the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation Ltd within the respective districts.
In order to ensure that there is no slackness in performing the assigned duties, each and every district-level team was asked to furnish monthly audit report of projects being implemented in their respective districts through the District Development Commissioner to the Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation Limited.
“The staff from respective engineering wings shall be provided by the respective departments by way of internal arrangements within each district, Accounts Officer from Audit and Inspection Department and Assistant Director from Economics and Statistics Organization”, the Financial Commissioner, Finance Department had mentioned in the order.
It was further mentioned that the guidelines framed by the Public Works (R&B) Department for 3rd Party Audit and the instructions issued by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India from time to time will be followed by the Concurrent Audit Teams, which will be provided necessary logistics and training in each district by the Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation.
However, despite lapse of over 10 months the Concurrent Audit Teams have not started the process of submitting the monthly reports to the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“Not only the Concurrent Audit Teams have given lame excuses for not accomplishing the task assigned to them even the concerned officers of the Finance Department have accepted the same instead of asking the special teams to explain the reasons behind the dilly-dallying approach”, sources said.
They further said, “while some Concurrent Audit Teams have conveyed to the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation that they could not start exercise because of their deep involvement in the routine works, the others have put the blame on the situation caused by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”.
“Monitoring implementation of languishing projects can’t be treated as lesser important assignment by the officers in the light of the fact that a special provision has been evolved by the Government to ensure that all those projects whose fate is hanging in balance even after huge expenditure can be completed for providing much needed facilities to the common masses”, sources said.
Now, the Finance Department has made changes in the composition of the Concurrent Audit Teams by issuing fresh order but the dilly-dallying approach in furnishing monthly audit reports has not been touched for the reasons best known to the concerned authorities.
“Because of one or the other situation in the entire Union Territory ever since the issuance of first order, the Concurrent Audit Teams have not furnished the monthly reports. We are hopeful that they will started doing the same in the shortest possible time”, said a senior officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation when contacted.
According to the sources, several works of different sectors which were accorded sanction under the “Languishing Scheme” even in the year 2018 have not been completed till date and none of the concerned executing agency has been taken to the task.
“The Government must ensure timely submission of physical and financial audit reports by the Concurrent Audit Teams so as to achieve the objective behind the creation of Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation”, sources stressed.