Says Previous Rs 300 Cr Unspent;Depts Fail To Submit UCs In Time


Srinagar, Jan 27: In a major embarrassment to the state government, the Government of India has withheld Rs 700 crore funding for Jammu and Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), citing failure of the departments to submit Utilization Certificates in time and also an unspent Rs 300 crore with the government.
 This is the second instance of its kind when the Government of India has stopped funding to the State. Earlier, the Union Ministry of Rural Development withheld the release of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to central Kashmir’s Budgam district after detecting “large-scale irregularities” in implementation of the centrally-sponsored scheme. 
 According to highly placed sources, the Planning Commission of India has categorically conveyed to the state government that “until the previous funds under the PMRP are not expended fully on ground and the Utilization Certificates (UCs) are not submitted in time, the sanctioned amount of remaining Rs 700 crores won’t be released.” “It is true that the State hasn’t been able to spend Rs 300-crore previous financial assistance released under the PMRP,” a senior official in the State Planning Department told Greater Kashmir. “There is a set procedure for the release of funds. Unless the earlier funds are expended on ground and its UCs furnished, further funds are not released.”
 The PCI move comes at a time when the Jammu and Kashmir government is preparing its annual budget for the year 2013-2014 with a claim that “almost all departments have registered 95 per cent expenditure under the PMRP till December last.”
 Sources said J&K is now left with no option than to spend Rs 300 before the financial year ends on March 31, which seems very likely. “Only then the State government can stake claim over Rs 700 crore funds under PMRP which it had sought in June 2012,” the sources said.
 They said that majority of departments have failed to submit their utilization certificates. Minister for Planning and Development Ajay Sadhotra expressed his ignorance on the progress achieved under PMRP. “I will soon chair a meeting on the issue,” he told Greater Kashmir.
 Pertinently, the flagship PMRP was announced by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 18, 2004 for a period of five years. “The term of the package ended in 2009 but it was extended by the Government of India annually since 2009,” sources said.
 At least 42 projects were sanctioned for J&K under the Plan, of which some projects have been completed so far, albeit only after cost escalation and repeated reminders by the Centre.
 The main schemes taken up under PMRP include improving Transmission and Distribution losses, construction of Mughal Road, four-lanning of Srinagar-Jammu highway and construction of the Udhampur-Qazigund rail link.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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