After the irrigation department, the Public Work’s Department (PWD) of the state is leading when it comes to excess expenditure. Documents procured under the Right to Information Act by Newsline show that there was excess expenditure of Rs 100 crore in the last few financial years. On its part, the department blames its “short staffing” for inadequate monitoring leading to the excess expenditure.
The excess expenditure comes despite a Computerized Budget Distribution System (BDS) in place to monitor the dispensing of grants and online-monitoring of the same. This system, put in place in 2007, was meant to maintain timely allotment of grants and online-monitoring and control on expenditure on various projects. Monthly expenditure statements (MES) were to be maintained by various circles or divisions and forwarded to Mantralaya for monitoring.
However, MES were not given out till December 2011. Also, during the customary audit by the auditor general, it was found that from July 2011 to November 2011, excess expenditure on various projects was more than Rs 64.08 crores. “No explanation was called for from the concerned offices as the excess expendture was booked against the available grants, which indicated that the information furnished by the field offices are not monitored at Mantralya level,” reads the report prepared by the AG.
Similar excess expenditure over grants under various projects was also noticed in the field offices in PWD, which was brought to the notice of the government through warning slips by the AG. However, documents show that other than merely issuing notices to the chief engineers, no concrete action was initiated against concerned officials violating government instructions. The finance department had taken cognizance of the irregularities and had requested the PWD to fix responsibility and to take necessary action against concerned officials. However, no such action was taken. While answering to the AG, the PWD mentioned that due to the lack of manpower it was not able to undertake proper monitoring.
Officers of the PWD mentioned that flow and control of funds in the department has been a problem due to the vast expanse of its work. “Centralized control is lacking and the new system is expected to address that,” the officer said.
Activist Vijay Kumbhar mentioned that though excess expenditure has been a problem with PWD, the AG’s reports have been routinely neglected by the government. “If proper audit is done, many a skeleton will come tumbling out of the cupboard,” he said.