Srinagar, Sep 29: In a glaring instance of administrative inertia, the government’s failure to set up International Trade Centre at Pampore has resulted in blocking of Rs 3.94 crore for more than a decade and Rs 1.06 crore “unfruitful” expenditure.
The revelations have been made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report over the functioning of Public Sector Undertakings(PSUs) in J&K.
According to the report, a copy of which is in possession of Precious Kashmir, J&K government’s failure to take timely action for setting up of ITC at Pampore resulted in blocking of Rs 3.94 crore for around ten years.
It has also pointed out that the expenditure of Rs 1.06 incurred on fencing of land and payment of registration fee was rendered unfruitful due to delay in establishing the facility.
In December 2008, the Government of India released Rs five crore as the first installment of the project to the State Industrial Development Corporation Limited (SIDCO) for setting up the facility.
The funds were retained by the Corporation for around two years and transferred to the bank account of Managing Director, Handicrafts Department in January 2011 after the Government of India sought utilization certificates.
Out of the funds released, the audit scrutiny reveals that an amount of Rs 1.01 crore was advanced to R&B department between September 2012 to January 2016 for construction of fencing around the land identified for the project and an expenditure Rs 0.05 crore incurred for obtaining license under the Companies Act 2013.
According to documents, the work on the project couldn’t be taken up due to multiple reasons, although the land measuring 371 kanals was transferred in favour of Director Handicrafts for establishment of ITC way back in 2004.
The documents further reveal that Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under Companies Act 1956 for managing its activities was constituted only in April 2012 and the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project was prepared in January 2014.
The project works could not be taken up as the decision with regard to identification of executing agency between SICOP and JKPCC and finalisation of the DPRs was not taken.
“ It was stated in September 2017 that revised DPR had been submitted to India Trade Promotion Office (ITPO) for technical vetting but the approval was awaited,” reads the CAG report.
In its reply to CAG in October 2018, Director Finance, Industries and Commerce Department stated that the amount was retained by SIDCO for less than two years and it was transferred to Directorate of Handicrafts on the basis of their assurance that formal registration of SPV would be done within weeks.
“However, the fact remains that despite availability of funds, the envisaged facility has not been established which has resulted in blocking of funds and unfruitful expenditure,” concludes the report.