Friday, July 28, 2017

Faulty Flood Management, Why Rs 30 Crores were surrendered ?

Greater Kashmir: Srinagar: Friday, July 28, 2017.
During my previous article  highlighting fund lapses and surrenders, I had revealed how funds amounting to crores were surrendered by Hospitality & Protocol department. Through this piece I am trying to expose how public  funds have been mismanaged by the Irrigation & Flood Control department. The information is authentic and has been obtained under Right to Information Act. Government officials will argue that funds were reutilized not mismanaged, but is this  a sensible argument ? 
Srinagar witnessed a disaster few years back. Almost 70 % area of Srinagar city was inundated during those devastating floods.   Some parts of Jammu region were also badly affected a lot. To make sure better flood management, millions of rupees were allocated to Irrigation & Flood Control department by Government. As per information obtained by our organization (J&K RTI Movement)  under Right to Information Act (RTI) large chunk of this funding was provided to two divisions of Irrigation & Flood Control in Srinagar and Jammu. I was completely shocked and disturbed when I found that more than Rs 30 crores were surrendered by the two divisions of Irrigation & FC alone during last three financial years ie 2014-15 , 2015-16 , 2016-17. Majority of these surrenders were made in the Irrigation & FC division Srinagar 
Surrender by I&FC  div Srinagar :
According to the details provided under J&K Right to Information Act (JK RTI Act 2009 ) by Executive Engineer Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC) division  Srinagar more than 24 crores were surrendered during last three financial years ie 2014-15, 2015-16,2016-17. As per the details provided by Executive Engineer , the funds were allocated  to the division for restoration of river Jehlum , small nallahas and irrigation canals  in Srinagar city. The information reveals that crores of rupees were surrendered  from 2014 to 2016. Out of these funds Rs 7 to 8 crore were revalidated, but rest of the amount according to  my information  were surrendered and thus got lapsed.
During the financial year 2016 -17 an amount of Rs 10.64 crore were  surrendered by the Executive Engineer Irrigation & FC division Srinagar out of Rs 15.90 crores. This amount was  meant for flood management programme in Srinagar city.  Moreover ,  out of Rs 24.64 crores , an amount of Rs 6.12 crores got lapsed from the capex budget  of Prime Ministers Development Programme  (PMDP)  and State Disaster Response Fund  (SDRF).
During  the financial year 2014-15 out of Rs 8.70 crores , an amount of Rs 5.45 crore got lapsed , but according to the RTI reply this amount was revalidated in 2015-16.  More than 1 crore has been surrendered during financial year 2015-16 out of Rs 1.50 Crores by the same division . The said money was meant for restoration of Hyderpora & Rawalpora flood channels  &  Harwan water  reservoir . Rs 58 lakhs were meant for beautification of flood canals  and out of it 56.30 lakhs were surrendered during 2015-16.
Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC)  division Jammu also provided a separate information vis a vis utilization of funds meant for flood management in Jammu district. I was shocked to go through the details revealed by the Executive Engineer I&FC division Jammu.  An amount of  Rs  8 crores was  surrendered by this division  during last three financial  years.  
I don’t know whether these lapses took place due to inefficiency and mismanagement of the officers in Irrigation & Flood Control department or the administrative department. In a nutshell  citizens have suffered because of these lapses. Majority of the funds  got lapsed during the financial year 2014 -15. The details reveal that Rs 595.10 lakhs were surrendered by the Irrigation Division Jammu  in 2014-2015 out of Prime Ministers Development Programme (PMDP) .  More than Rs 15 crore were allocated to this division. Out of this allocated money , Rs 9 crores plus  could only be spent by the department. In 2015 -16 almost Rs 1.30 crores  were surrendered out of PMDP  , which was exclusively meant  for Tawi Island Barrage. In 2016-17 an amount of almost Rs 8 crore remained unspent out of Rs 14 crores allotment. It is not clear whether this amount was surrendered or utilized in the next financial year. Srinagar  , Jammu and several other towns of J&K continue to be under the threat of floods . The way funds meant for flood control are mismanaged  and not utilized properly  , citizens are its direct sufferers. We will continue to suffer in case floods hit J&K once again this year.