The state government got a rap on the knuckles from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for its urban local bodies flouting JNNURM norms. They have also been slammed for lack of planning and delay in projects.
In its report for year ended March 2012,CAG has come down heavily on the local bodies for irregular inclusion of ongoing projects in violation of JNNURM stipulations. These projects were already under execution prior to announcement of JNNURM in 2005.
The most striking irregularity brought to light in the report is that in spite of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) being a non-elected local body,it cannot access JNNURM funds for implementing urban reforms.
Although AMC had Rs 2,977 crore sanctioned for projects worth Rs 2,977 crore (up to March 2012),it had transferred 10 projects worth Rs 554 crore to AUDA. This,also despite AUDA not having signed a tripartite agreement with the state government and the Centre,a necessary condition for accessing Mission funds.
CAG has rejected the AMC explanation that most of the AUDA areas,where these development projects have taken place,were merged with AMC in 2007. CAG has pointed out that as the areas were merged in AMC in 2007,these projects were required to be executed by AMC instead of AUDA.
Another gross irregularity on the part of the AMC is that it transferred to AUDA a housing project in 2006,for which it had got Rs 89 crore to build 8,000 units in Ahmedabad along with funds. AUDA spent Rs 105 crore to build 7,400 units in six years,leaving 600 under construction.
CAG revealed that the units were meant for slum-dwellers but AUDA sold and gave possession of 608 units to people displaced by Sabarmati River Front Development Company,a commercial entity. These houses were sold against payment and retained the amount realised irregularly instead of refunding the sum to respective government agency.
There has been serious lapses in preparation of detailed project reports (DPR),in the absence of proper survey and assessment of material requirement by Surat Municipal Corporations water supply project for Sarthana,Katargam and Rander areas.
In Jamnagar,the municipal corporation failed to build a community hall in a colony of 864 houses,despite DPR providing for a an expenditure of Rs 41.32 lakh,the report points out.
CAG has also rejected explanations offered by local bodies for not following CVC guidelines,particularly by Ahmedabad and Jamnagar municipal corporations,while awarding tender to the second lowest bidder by negotiating with them after the actual tendering process. CAG made it clear that the ULBs taking recourse to such action were not permitted.
AMC has also been castigated for incurring avoidable expenditure due to injudicious rejection of tenders in the case of price bid for sewerage treatment plant at old Pirana site. In this case,the lowest tender was rejected for being on the higher side,but subsequently during re-tendering,the second lowest bidder was accepted. AMC said the higher tender in the second instance was due to price rise in the meantime (90 days).