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Audit slams Horticulture for not recovering dues from Punjab & Haryana Raj Bhawan

The audit pointed out that a total of 134 gardeners were outsourced against the shortage of 10 and an amount of Rs 35 lakh was paid to the contractors.

Written by Vinod Kumar | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 29, 2015 4:39:47 am
The Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.  (Express Archives) The Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh. (Express Archives)

THE CHANDIGARH horticulture department has received flak from the audit department for its inability to recover dues from Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawan for landscaping.

During scrutiny of the records, it was found that development works, scaping and other various types of works were carried out at the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawan. An expenditure of around Rs 20 lakh — Rs 15 lakh on Punjab Raj Bhawan and Rs 5 lakh on Haryana Raj Bhawan — was incurred which was to be recovered from the governments of Punjab and Haryana.

When contacted, the UT chief engineer said that the Punjab and Haryana governor was administrator of Chandigarh and they could not charge money from the state government for various works carried out at the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawan. He stated they would send a detailed reply to the audit department.
The department is responsible for the development of parks, tree plantation, landscaping etc in the residential/non-residential area in various sectors of the Chandigarh Administration for which the budget is provided under plan head.

Irregular expenditure

Government nursery in Sector 23 was established for making facilities for providing ornamental plants — trees, shrubs, creepers, seasonal flowers — for the residents of Chandigarh and also for neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. During the scrutiny of the records, it came to the fore that an expenditure of Rs 1.17 crore was incurred by the nursery without sanctioning the estimate. Terming it irregular, the amount could not be admitted in audit.
The audit report also pointed out that the department hired as many as 134 gardeners on contract against 10 vacant posts. As per norms, posts of different categories for every department are sanctioned by the administration as per requirement for smooth functioning of the department. Excess or shortage of staff in any cadre is to be reported to the administration for making alternative arrangement so that the functioning of the department may not suffer. During the scrutiny of the records, it was noticed that the department had a sanctioned strength of 273 gardeners against whom 263 were working.

The audit pointed out that a total of 134 gardeners were outsourced against the shortage of 10 and an amount of Rs 35 lakh was paid to the contractors. The audit termed irregular the expenditure incurred on the account of salary paid to the unsanctioned gardeners.

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