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No audit of accounts of district level disaster fund in J&K, lacks transparency

Last Updated on January 20, 2022 at 11:07 am

The district level disaster accounts have never been audited in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir mainly due to lackadaisical attitude of the concerned officials at every level in the government leaving a plenty of room for mis-utilization of funds.

Despite knowing the fact that J&K rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions and has witnessed many disasters in the form of earthquakes and flash floods and falls under Seismic Zone-V1 and in Seismic Zone-IV2 with low lying areas of Kashmir and parts of Jammu are flood prone and upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab and Tawi Rivers are prone to flash floods.

There is a fund called as State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) which helps in funding disaster related activities which is sanctioned by State Executive Committee (SEC) headed by Chief Secretary on obtaining requisition from the Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners.
Then finance department plays its role by releasing funds to the Deputy Commissioners for further disbursal. Previously, the funds used to be released through the Financial Commissioner Revenue but after 2016 the same are transferred to the district level disaster fund accounts through the Department of Disaster Management.

But to an utter shock, district level disaster fund accounts have not been audited, reported Daily Excelsior. This shows the lack of seriousness at the part of the concerned officials who were to conduct the audit of accounts to ensure transparency.

As per reports, government received few complaints regarding mis-utilization of disaster funds released specifically for Covid-19 management and same was discussed in a meeting by the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta.

Chief Secretary directed the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction to conduct the exercise of the audit of all district level disaster fund accounts immediately. After that Disaster Management Department forwarded the accounts details of the current financial year to the Audit and Inspection Wing of the Finance Department for necessary action at its end.