NITI Ayog paints gloomy picture of works under BADP scheme

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Nov 6: The Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO) of the NITI Ayog of the Government of India has painted a gloomy picture of the works executed under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in 96 districts of  17 border States in the country and expressed its great displeasure over the poor implementation of various schemes in about two dozens of western border blocks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The study carried out under the guidance of the CEO of the NITI Ayog and prepared by Dr R C Dey, Research Associate, PEO involving experts from Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata; Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow; Institute of Human Development, Delhi and  Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi; pointed out various violations of the guidelines, flaws and shortcomings in the scheme. The study painted a gloomy picture of the system involved and expressed great dissatisfaction in the poorest implementation of the scheme.
Out of the total 362 border blocks of 96 districts in the country covered under BADP, the study/ survey was carried out in 76 blocks covering all these districts for their four years’ performance (between 2008 and 2012). The  purpose was to assess whether the programme has achieved the desired level of coverage and impact on the beneficiaries and to suggest modifications or any suggestions. The study was divided into six clusters and the J&K and HP were kept in Cluster- E, covering 12 border blocks.
While all the States provided the required data of the BADP works and funds received and utilized, the J&K and West Bengal failed to provide any such data with regard to works initiated under the schemes or funds position. The study also pointed out that J&K has ranked low on the people’s satisfaction with the development of infrastructure. No sufficient BADP funds were utilized for raising infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, dental clinics, blood banks, veterinary aid centers, irrigation, sanitation, lanes,  bridges, power infrastructure, mobile dispensaries, shelters for border dwellers, irrigation kools, drinking water augmentation, de-silting of ponds and wells, opening PDS shops/ depots, community halls, parks and gardens, Social Forestry, additional Anganwadi centers, Tele-communication facilities, small scale industry, homes for orphans and handicapped children etc.
Even the study found that Panchayat members are not involved in preparing schemes; women participation is negligible and only politicians and bureaucrats prepare schemes as per their suitability and sweet will. Gram Sabha members are hardly taken into confidence, which is otherwise essential as per guidelines.
Referring to the social sector, the survey report indicated that under social sector funding, J&K remained at the lowest with 2.5 % fund utilization while Rajasthan used maximum funds of 17 %.  In Health sector J&K used 14% of the funds while in Infrastructure sector it utilized just 22 %.   It is noteworthy to mention here that Punjab utilized 69.70 % while Gujarat 62 % and Assam 70 % in this sector. The study found that no work has been done for maintenance of the assets created under BADP even three years after the date of their completion. The utilization of this infrastructure was also not satisfactory. There are schools but no teachers, hospitals but no doctors  and other Medical staff. There is huge gap between the funds allocated by the Centre and the funds utilized by States while J&K gave no details of the funds. There is no proper mechanism of monitoring of these schemes and accountability was witnessed at its lowest ebb.
Mian Khan, Sarpanch from border village of Rajpura Patta in Nowshera area of district Rajouri while exposing the BADP scheme in this Sub Division said that in last five years no BADP works were conducted in the area. He said during 2013, 90 Solar lamps  were distributed in seven Panchayats of his area including Rajpura Patta, Rajpura Kameela, Lam, Ladoka, Qila Darhal, Kalsian etc  but all of them were found defective. Not even single was found functional. The people approached the then MLA, Tehsildar and even the SDM Nowshera and DC Rajouri. The SDM told that some people will come to their village to get these lamps repaired but nobody came and the sub-standard lamps  remained lying unused. There is big scandal of the BADP funds as there is no monitoring and accountability at all, Mr Khan maintained.
Raj Kumar, Sarpanch hailing from Doongi-Garati border belt of Rajouri said BADP schemes are total failure and are meant for minting money for some ‘Babus’ and politicians. He said no official tells about the BADP schemes. There is no awareness. Border people are kept in  dark. No roads, additional health centres, schools, power related works, water augmentation, mobile dispensaries, sanitation, toilets, drains- lanes were constructed under BADP in this Doongi border block of district Rajouri. “Sirf funds Ki Bander Bant Hoti hai’…. Babu Log aur Asardar Neta Log Aapas Mein Bant Lete Hein,…. Border Walon Ko Ya Gram Sabha members Ko Kaun Puchhta Hai”, Mr Kumar said.
The Sarpanch disclosed that even a few Solar lights were provided to the few favourites on pick and choose basis and that too, were found sub-standard. The funds are kept under the disposal of DC. He and his District Planning Officers or concerned MLAs/ MLCs sit together and decide the fate of the works. Where do these funds worth hundreds of crores go, only they know. Similar were the words of Sarpanches from Mendhar and Mandi blocks of Poonch who alleged that high level inquiry is needed to be conducted in the matter. They said that Panchayat members should be involved in fixing priorities in their respective Halqas and transparency be maintained in allotment and utilisation of funds under BADP.
Sita Ram Sarpanch from border area of Khour said that a few works related to lanes were conducted in his border Panchayat about three years back but thereafter, no works were initiated. Another Sapranch, Balbir Singh from this block was of the opinion that all the schemes under BADP should be known to the people of this border belt through awareness campaign and concerned agencies in the District Panchayats and Local Bodies implementing should involve concerned Gram Sabha members and ground level block level workers in the implementation process.
He alleged that huge funds are misused and benefit of the scheme is not reaching up to the people. He said no irrigation, sanitation,  mobile medicare facilities, mobile veterinary dispensaries have been provided in the area under the scheme.
Sarpanch Bhartendu Sharma from Rajpura ( Ghagwal) and Chander Shekar from Mawa in Samba district and Bharat Bhushan from Border Area Development Council Kathua pointed out that a few works related to construction of lanes were conducted under BADP in their respective Panchayat Halqas in last four years but over all position is not good. They  said  there is no clarity about the schemes and the concerned officials do not tell properly.  Even the people are not well aware of the nature of works initiated under the BADP scheme. No roads were constructed under BADP in their area or water supply schemes framed. Infrastructure development is very poor in this whole belt. They said in most of the schemes they are not involved and their consent is not sought. The works are fixed as per the choice of  the concerned legislators or officials in the DC offices, they maintained.

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