Sunday, December 6, 2009

vidarbha relief package-Panel demands action on graft-The Times of India

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Panel demands action on graft

NAGPUR: A report tabled by the public accounts committee (PAC) in the legislature last month has indicated massive corruption in the implementation of prime minister's package for the region's farmers. The issue is likely to come up in the winter session, with the PAC chairman demanding stern action against the guilty.

The PAC is a legislative body which examines reports put up by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG). The report about the over Rs 3,000 crore aid package announced in July 2006, has been drafted on the basis of the investigations of the director of the relief package implementation. This investigation had taken cues from the CAG's revelations, which had undertaken a performance audit of the implementation of the package.

Talking to TOI, PAC chairman Girish Bapat said massive corruption has been found and the committee has recommended that legal proceedings be initiated again the responsible officers. "The PAC has tabled the report in the legislature and now it is up to the government to take action on it. It may be noted that two of the responsible officials have already retired from service," said Bapat. He said he would take up the issue during the Nagpur session and demand action on the basis of the report.

There have been several anomalies, especially relating to over-invoicing of purchases. Bapat who was in Amravati said he had also observed some peasants who had sold off their farms received grants under the package.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers organisation, has also demanded action on the basis of this report, said VJAS chairman Kishore Tiwari.

Quoting the CAG report, VJAS said the state runs the risk of a grant of Rs 2085.38 crore being turned into a loan. The PM package has a component of Rs 2177 crore to create irrigation potential in six suicide-prone districts. Of this Rs 2085.38 crore was to fund several medium, medium and major projects.

However, the Centre revised the eligibility criterion of funding in December 2006. According to new criteria, if the state fails to comply with the date of completion the amount would be treated as a loan. Hence, the possibility of completion within the stipulated time is remote.

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