Shimla: Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has revealed that the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) were diverted and misused for inadmissible works.

The CAG report, tabled in the assembly, thrown light on the working of districts’ administration and revealed that the SDRF funds to the tune of Rs. 2.19 crore were diverted to repair and restoration of Government office and residential buildings not damaged by disaster/ calamity, while claims of Rs. 3.19 crore for immediate relief to victims of natural calamities remained pending.  

CAG report charged the State Executive Committee for not discharging its duty of ensuring that money drawn from SDRF was being properly utilised. CAG found that Rs. 2.19 Crores were sanctioned and released (between January 2015 and August 2017) in five districts by Deputy Commissioners for 180 works of repair and renovation of Government offices and residential buildings, in violation of the guidelines.

Out of the total inadmissible amount of Rs. 2.19 crore, Rs. 1.62 crore had been sanctioned and released for 139 works during 2016-18 without any re-appropriation/ authorisation from the State Government; of which Rs. 88.19 lakh for 67 works had been booked under the  minor  head  ‘Assistance  to  Local  bodies  and  other  non-Government Bodies/Institutions’  (under  the  major  head-  Relief on  Account of  Natural  Calamities- 02 Floods, Cyclones, etc.) which constituted misuse of budget earmarked for assistance to Local Bodies/ non-Government Bodies, the CAG report further read.

Test-check of relief claims under SDRF for the period 2015-18 in three sub-divisions of these districts showed that whereas Rs. 2.19 crore had been misutilised, while 152 claims of gratuitous relief/ ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3.19 crore to victims of calamities had remained pending during the same period due to non-availability of funds, defeating the purpose of SDRF.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.