unauthorised works

Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) comprising Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Municipal Committees across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have been explicitly told to bring about perceptible change in their general approach towards executing different types of works . Government has found that not only unauthorised works were being wilfully undertaken but demands for release of funds for them were routinely made. The bug of violating the financialcode of undertaking those very works only which were approved and authorised has been found in many instances in the Urban Local Bodies. Such a scenario cannot be put up with as it was not only creating liabilities and diversion of funds but was breeding corruption and one-upmanship over the overall control and monitoring by the Government. Wherever public funds granted to any institution including ULBs ,Panchayatsetc were concerned , they had to be fully accountable and those funds had to be spent strictly according to set procedures . Perhaps, this part of elementary knowledge about handling and spending funds granted to ULBs is inappropriately dispersed across these institutions.
This scenario was tantamount to negating the very basis of what these ULBs are meant for , not causing hardships to general public but addressing their problems , easing their sufferings and coming up to their expectations as they have voted them for those purposes only. Perhaps, this much of “functional autonomy” cannot be granted to these bodies where Housing and Urban Development Department is bypassed in selecting , prioritizing and authorising works to be undertaken by them . However, Housing and Urban Development Department does not get funds from the UT Government for various schemes which the ULBs ought to undertake , nor have they any untied funds which could be allocated to the ULBs as and when demanded. There are , however various schemes for which funds are received under Capital Expenditure or Capex Budget , Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Flagship Programmes , Devolution Grants etc , they are duly released to the identified implementing agencies . If ULBs are in the habit of incurring recurring expenditures for non priority type of works and also those not authorised , that could not obviously be permitted and no funds could be released to them. They have to remain within budgeted norms and provisions and going beyond would create liabilities which would be difficult to square off as that needed equal funds for reconciling.
From the entire state of affairs, it appears that some basic workshops like exposures to the elected representatives of these institutions has not been arranged to bring home to them the basic concepts of funds and works management and a synergy between the two that functional autonomy did not mean absolute authority . It is also not that ULBs are starved of the requisite funds for implementation of various schemes, rather they have sufficient funds under different budget provisions , still dishing out more demands for funds was unwarranted . The efforts of the Government needed to be appreciated in leaving no stone unturned in helping and empowering the ULBs which needed to be reciprocated to work within rules and acting in such a way that no financial problems sprouted. It is imperative that regular financial and compliance audits are conducted in the ULBs so that besides verifying the end use of spent funds , corrective measures with suggestions and guidance were brought out in respective reports for these institutions to comply with to bring about an operational improvement so that issues like making demands for funds for unauthorised works did not crop up at all.