Coming down heavily on the tourism department, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG’s) report said it failed to comply with the state’s tourism policy and did not prepare circuit-wise master plan.
The CAG based these conclusions on its audits of the department’s works between 2011- ‘12 and 2015-’16. The report stated that seven tourism circuits were identified by the tourism policy formulated in 1998 and it was a “pre-requisite” to have a master plan for planned development of each circuit. “Directorate selected the tourism development areas based on random/arbitrary suggestions of the local Member of Legislature/ Member of Parliament etc. Thus, the tourism circuits were developed in an adhoc manner,” the report stated.
At a press conference in Lucknow on Friday, Vinita Mishra, Accountant General (Economic and Revenue Sector Audits), cited the important findings of the audit reports which were tabled in the Assembly on Thursday.
The report, which highlighted several irregularities said the department did not fix any “quantifiable target of the schemes for augmenting tourist arrivals in the state”. It said due to absence of quantifiable targets and master plan, there was no mechanism in the state to ensure fulfillment of the objectives of the tourism development schemes. The report said only Rs. 339.51 crore, or 77 per cent of total Rs 440.33 crore released for upgrade and extension of tourism facilities between 2011-12 and 2015-16, was spent.
According to the report, as many as 34 schemes out of 54 audited are “incomplete and under execution even after lapse of 6 months to 43 months of their scheduled date of completion”. The report found that the reason for delay in most of the cases, 37 out of 46, was “slackness on the part of executing agencies in execution works”.
The report also noticed several irregularities in the implementation of works by the executing agencies. It said the department “irregularly” appointed executing agencies in 10 schemes in violation of state government orders. The report said the executing agencies did not get technical sanction from competent authorities in 10 of 27 schemes. The Tourism Directorate also failed to obtain the Central Financial Assistance of Rs 31.25 crore under the scheme of Product/Infrastructure Development for Destinations and Circuits for failing to execute the works within time frame as fixed by the Ministry of Tourism, as per the report.
It states the PIDDC scheme was closed by the Centre in March 2016 and, of the 10 works started by the state, one was completed with the assistance from state government, one was abandoned and eight are under progress with state’s aid. Highlighting lack of proper planning, it said the department dismantled the structures built between 2010 and 2014 costing Rs 2.99 core in two cases for implementation of new schemes.