Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed in its latest report that victims of disasters in Jammu and Kashmir have been kept away from benefits of huge funds sanctioned by the Government of India and other government agencies for many years. These funds which remained unutilized were kept in the bank accounts rather than being returned to the Central Government.
After an unfortunate fire incident took place in Khundru Army Ammunition Depot on August 11, 2007, the Ministry of Defence sanctioned a fund of Rs 26.74 crore to Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag for victims. Records reveal that Rs 23.19 crore funds were distributed to victims under various categories up to December 2009. No compensation was given to victims after that even though a portion of funds sanctioned remained unused.
CAG mentioned that remaining Rs 3.55 crore for compensation were not distributed by March 2019. This amount remained in the Bank Account of the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) for almost a decade and as interest was applied to it then this amount was increased to Rs 5.41 crore. DDO didn’t mention any specific reason for not distributing the remaining amount of compensation among victims.
Since the Ministry of Defence provided these funds so undisbursed/unutilised funds should have been forwarded to the Government of India. Government departments have often allotted funds to DDOs for distributing compensation among victims of various natural calamities including people living in border villages who have to shift to another place because of cross border firing.
If funds are not utilized then they must be sent to the sanctioning authority. However, it was found that seven DDOs had Rs 4.28 crore in their bank accounts in the form of unutilised funds till March 31, 2019. These are:
- Tehsildar Akhnoor – Rs 1.25 crore (Border Firing-Migrants Scheme)
- Tehsildar Bishnah – Rs 0.19 crore (Crop Relief Paddy 2010-11 Scheme)
- Tehsildar R S Pura – Rs 1.18 crore (Relief 2009 Scheme)
- Tehsildar Sunderbani – Rs 0.19 crore (Drought Relief Scheme)
- Tehsildar Nowshera – Rs 0.71 crore (Relief 2009 Scheme)
- Tehsildar Reasi – Rs 0.66 crore
- Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Rajouri – Rs 0.10 crore
Considering this case, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India demanded that a foolproof mechanism must be put in place so that victims of natural calamities get benefits of schemes which are intended for them.