Local bodies fail to use funds

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photo for indicative purpose only

In the yearly analysis of accounts of 17 ULB presented by Urban, Town & Country Planning  Minister Sarveen Choudhary in the house it has come fore is that most of these did not figure proficient in fund management. As per the report together these ULB failed to spend a total of 6131.73 lac worth of grants in the year 17-18. Dharamshala MC topped the chart with 2093.07 lac unutilized. Followed behind by Nagar panchayat Sarkaghat at 928.49 lac. Third spot in under utilization was taken by Nagar Parishad Poanta Sahib at 786.24lac. Fourth and fifth spot went to Nagar Parishad Parwanoo 485.44 lac and Nagar Panchayat Talai 399.32 lac.

Besides unutilized funds the amount which could not be recovered from different sources of the ULBs also held a significant share. An amount of 429.17 lac was pending towards house tax etc in all ULBs. Here Dharamshala had 86.68 lac, Nagar Parishad Theog 77.55lac and Rajgarh 59.02 lac pending towards payments of house tax, etc. Similarly significant figure was observed in section for recovery of rent from Shops, stalls, Plots, lease and bus stands. The total amount un-recovered by all ULBs here is 481.46 lac. Bhuntar is topping the list 108.3 lac. Nalagarh 61.08 lacs, Theog 56.10 lac, Poanta Sahib 59.60 lac and Kotkhai 49.57 lac.

To add the report stated that ‘utilization certificates’ for projects worth 1880.77 lacs were not available when the accounts were audited.

This report was presented in the house as a result of recommendations made by the eleventh finance commission. Amendment in the HP Municipal act 1994 section 161 (3), was made. As per changes the yearly financial audit of urban local bodies was handed over to the local audit department of the state.

A total of 17 urban local bodies were audited. These included Municipal Corporation Dharamshala, Nagar Parishads of Nalagarh, Poanta Sahib, Kullu, Parwanoo and Theog. Alongwith the 11 Nagar Panchayats comprised of Narkanda, Nadaun, Kotkhai, Banjar, Sarkaghat, Bhotta, Daulatpur, Tahliwal, Bhuntar, talai and Rajgarh. The period of analysis reported was April 2017 to March 2018.

Likewise Shimla even other urban and semi urban areas of the state are challenged by problems related to infrastructure, facilities and services. All Central/State governments have been committed to the cause, and in the process funds have been allocated by way of grants. However in most cases it seen that due to reasons like sloppy governmental work practices, political environment and bureaucratic mindset funds remain under utilized/unrecovered. Perhaps the foresight to work within stipulated timelines so that a real visible progressive change can brought has been missing. Evident it is, as rarely a government project would be seen finished in time.

“These funds if could have been recovered/utilized in time, not only would they have provided a better financial cushion to these ULBs, but would have helped keeping the balance sheets green,” stated Tikender Panwar, former deputy mayor of Shimla.

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