CAG raps U'khand govt for financial bungling during Kumbh mela



Dehradun: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the Uttarakhand government for wasteful, avoidable and unauthorised expenditure to the tune of Rs 223 crore in the Maha Kumbh Mela.

Based on the CAG report, a criminal complaint has been filed in a court here against Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and two others for alleged financial irregularities during the fair organised last year in Haridwar.

The report said the performance audit revealed lack of detailed and comprehensive planning such as an integrated plan, lack of coordination among various departments, substandard work and poor management of affairs in various areas.

It stated that 54 works with an approved cost of Rs 180.07 crore remained incomplete during the fair.

Out of 311 approved works, only 82 works were completed before the beginning of the fair. Besides, 43 additional works were executed without prior sanction and five works were sanctioned in an unauthorized manner, the report said.

Late release of sanctions created pressure upon executing agencies due to which irregular payment of advances were made to contractors.

Moreover, works were taken up by the executing agencies in a hasty manner leading to improper assessment, substandard execution and unfruitful, excess and avoidable expenditure.

The CAG said unauthorized expenditure of Rs 19.39 crore for executing 43 works was incurred by 11 departments without prior approval of the government.

Improvement, extension of a geologically unsuitable hill bypass road and construction of a road on disputed land in Haridwar led to avoidable expenditure of Rs 11.64 crore, it stated.

Strengthening of 29.645 km road was done without approved design and against the guidelines of Indian Road Congress which led to avoidable expenditure of Rs 3 crore, it said.

It also said lackadaisical approach toward generation of revenue from parking, providing of tin and water charges by the Mela administration led to loss of Rs 3.85 crore. Accepting arbitrary conditions raised by contractors in negotiations on hiring tin and furniture led to extra expenditure of Rs 4.77 crore.

An expenditure of Rs 439.47 crore was incurred till July 2010 by the state government on preparations for the fair for which the total action plan was of Rs 590 crore with Central assistance of Rs 565 crore, the report said.

However, the CAG lauded the government for construction and renovation of 3,310 meters of bathing ghats before the beginning of the fair saying it proved to be a milestone which enhanced the capacity of ghats for catering to needs of a large number of pilgrims.

PTI