Despite getting `23.75 crore, Hr Edu Deptt failed to complete girls’ hostels: CAG

Despite getting `23.75 crore, Hr Edu Deptt failed to complete girls’ hostels: CAG

Srinagar: The Higher Education Department (HED) has failed to complete the construction work on the girls’ hostels despite the passage of four years, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said.

The CAG said that the construction work of girls’ hostels in Government Degree Colleges (GDCs) was allotted in four of the five selected GDCs to the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board on a nomination basis.

The report said that the construction of hostels was started in February 2018 and was supposed to be completed within eight months.

“But the hostels were yet to be completed till October 2020, thus depriving hostel facilities to girl students of selected colleges,” the CAG said.

It said that the HED failed to complete the girls’ hostels despite getting Rs 23.75 crore from the University Grants Commission (UGC) from July 2017 to October 2018.

“The amount was released into the bank accounts of seven GDCs against the sanctioned cost of Rs 50 crore,” the CAG said.

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It said that an expenditure of only Rs 15.29 crore including the funds released under the erstwhile State Plan was incurred till September 2020.

The HED in October 2016 had submitted a proposal for the construction of seven girls’ hostels in GDCs which was approved in March 2017 under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) by the Government of India (GoI) for a total project cost of Rs 50 crore.

The project works, as per the CAG, were technically vetted by the Development Commissioner (Works) for Rs 48.41 crore, and the period for completion was eight months from the date of issue of authorisation order.

“The assistance from the GoI, through the UGC was 100 percent of the approved cost, subject to the condition that expenditure over and above the allocation by UGC was to be met by the institutions from their resources,” the CAG said.

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It said that of the seven girls’ hostels to be constructed, five were selected for test check in the audit.

“Of the five girls’ hostels in GDCs where the construction was proposed, work on three girls’ hostels is at different stages. In the remaining two hostels, work was stopped at the plinth level,” the CAG said.

The work was stopped due to lack of specific experience of the executing agencies as well as the know-how of the new technology being adopted despite incurring an expenditure of Rs 3 crore and none of the girls’ hostels were complete.

About the financial management, the CAG said that of the sanctioned Rs 50 crore, an amount of Rs 23.75 crore was released by UGC directly to the concerned colleges where Rs 10.22 crore were released to the construction agencies.

The CAG said Rs 9 crore were released by UGC to three colleges following which Rs 11.59 crore were disbursed to the construction agencies.

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“The balance funds of Rs 12 crore remained with the colleges as of September 2020. The audit further noticed that for four of the five sampled colleges, an expenditure of Rs 12.23 crore was incurred till September 2020,” the CAG said.

However, the executing agencies in their Utilisation Certificates (UCs) showed that Rs 15.29 crore was incurred on the projects, thereby resulting in the submission of inflated UCs to the extent of Rs 3.06 crore.

The CAG said that the Director Planning HED stated that UCs were issued based on work done which included material brought on site of work.

“The reply is not tenable as the actual expenditure incurred included material booked in advance by the executing divisions and therefore the UCs submitted were inflated. The possibility of misutilisation or misappropriation in the future cannot be ruled out as the differential amount was still lying in the bank accounts of the GDCs,” the CAG said. (GK)