Chennai: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has found "substantial shortfall" in the utilisation of central grants to Urban Local Bodies for implementation Solid Waste Management programme in Tamil Nadu.
In its report for the year ended March 31, 2009, CAG said Rs 457.60 crore was released by the Centre under Central
Twelfth Finance Commission in 2005-09 to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) for implementation of Solid Waste Management (SWM) programmes.
"Under the SWM programme, the waste generated in urban areas had to be segregated into biodegradable and non bio-degradable items and they have to be scientifically disposed of without causing environmental pollution," CAG said.
A High Level Committee (HLC) headed by the Chief Secretary was constituted in 2005 to monitor the programme, it said.
In its assessment in three of the test-checked local bodies, the Tiruchirappally City Municipal Corporation, Kovilpatti and Sankarankoil municipalities, CAG found that grant sanctioned from 2005-06 to 2007-08 was not utilised till October 2009.
"Though the local body council had approved the works to be undertaken and the list of equipment purchased with the grant, the allotted grant of Rs 1.58 crore was not utilised for intended/approved purpose," it said.
CAG concluded that there was "substantial shortfall" in utilisation of CTFC grants every year besides diversion of funds to other civil works.
The reasons included delays in tender finalisation and acquisition of site for compost yard which "indicated inability of the local bodies to effectively utilise the grants and poor monitoring of the programme by HLC," it said.
Further, the Salem City Municipal Corporation diverted
Rs 3.06 crore towards fuel expenses for conservancy vehicles though guidelines specified that the grant should be utilised only to meet capital cost.
The CAG said eight of the check-tested town panchayats had used the entire grant of Rs 23.16 lakh earmarked for SWM, for civil works.
Segregation of waste into bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste was not done in any of the test-checked urban local bodies and the entire waste was dumped in dump sites, the CAG said.
Among its recommendations, the CAG said the monitoring system should be made effective and "proper control mechanism should be institutionalised to check irregular payments and diversion of scheme funds."