Ridden with irregularities,the cooperative department of the state government has now drawn flak from the state Auditor General (AG). The AG has pulled up the Commissioner of Cooperative and Registrar of Societies for failing to recover Rs 60.57 crore auditing fees.
The cooperative departments audit wing charges the fee for auditing urban cooperative banks,district central cooperative banks and other societies that the state government notifies. The audit fee is collected from such bodies according to prescribed rates.
Failing to recover audit fees tantamount to blocking government money,says the latest the AG report accessed by The Indian Express using the Right to Information Act.
The fees were to be recovered from various societies located in seven revenue divisions of the state. The Mumbai revenue division topped the list of defaulters with Rs 29 crore,followed by Aurangabad division with Rs 13 crore.
Pune division owes Rs 64.84 lakh,the lowest among all divisions. A total of 325 cooperative bodies have not paid audit fees. Criticising the Commissioner of Cooperative for failing to collect the money,the AG report notes that this has also led to interest loss on the amount. The commissioner has replied that action has been initiated to recover the amount. Till March 2013,action has taken against 155 bodies while 1,250 have applied for waiver, the reply stated.
BJP MLA Madhuri Misal,who is on the board of various cooperative societies,blamed the office of the Commissioner of Cooperative. The main reason for the weakness of the cooperative sector is the laxity of the governing bodies. If they are unable to recover their auditing fees,it puts a question mark on their functioning, she said.