Agriculture mess in J&K, crores embezzled

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March 21: In what could be termed as another major scam, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found innumerable instances of under-performance, irregularities, incorrect utilisation certificates and parking of money in personal accounts in the audit of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) being implemented in the Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the report which was recently tabled in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Jammu and Kashmir has failed to generate required conditions for growth in agriculture and allied activities. The period of the coverage of this performance audit is from the inception of this scheme in 2007-08 to 2012-13.

The report refers to the project for the establishment of Agriculture Business Centres by Self Help Groups/Societies for providing customer hiring services for the year (2010-11),  and says that against the target of establishment of 21 Agriculture Business Centres, eight (38 per cent) were not established. Report maintains that this huge shortfall was due to short release of funds by the state government.

Regarding that project for assistance to beneficiaries under Mushroom Development on 50 percent subsidy i.e. maximum of Rs. 75,000 per unit in Plastic Trays (100 Trays/ Beneficiary) for the year 2012-13, against the target of establishment of 34 Mushroom units during 2012-13, 18 units (53 per cent) could not be established. Out of the remaining 16 units, CAG maintains that Joint physical verification of 13 units located in the selected districts revealed that eight were non-functional and one was partly functional.

Project for development/strengthening of departmental nurseries/ progeny orchard for the year 2010-11 which was sanctioned with the objective of strengthening of 39 nurseries in the State, in two selected districts of Baramulla and Bandipora, percentage mortality of plants in the departmental nurseries ranged between 16 and 43 per cent during the period 2010-11 to 2012-13 due to poor maintenance and non-provision of proper irrigation facilities.

Physical verification of 11 departmental Fruit Plant Nurseries in three selected districts and one each in Srinagar and Pulwama revealed that the condition of the trees/plants/ seedlings was not up to the mark and four nurseries had no/insufficient source of water for irrigation purposes. Referring to the Soil and Water Conservation through Water Harvesting Structure and other measures project, joint physical verification of 38 water harvesting structures constructed in four selected Districts of Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara and Kathua revealed that 30 water harvesting structures were totally dry and in damaged condition.

Two water harvesting structures did not exist physically thus resulting in wasteful expenditure of Rs. 32 lakh on account of assistance paid for construction of such tanks. Another project under RKVY was establishment of Hi- Tech Green Houses for propagation of Walnut and other fruit plants – (2009-10). Under the project, out of 13 Hi-Tech Green Houses established, nine could not be made operational due to non-availability of electric and water connections resulting in unfruitful expenditure of Rs. 83 lakh.

Most socking was that District Agricultural Plans (DAPs) prepared for 12 districts of Kashmir region were formulated without involvement of Panchayati Raj Institutions or other related organisations. CAG found out that while preparing DAPs (Kashmir region) neither the state government nor the district authorities conducted any study to analyze the agro-climatic conditions, availability of technology and natural resources of the state in various areas. DAPs were formulated without any participatory mode and without seeking consultancy and technical support from the institutions having expertise in promotion of Agriculture and allied sectors.

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Kidnappings, rapes on increase in J&K; says NCRB report   

BALWANT SINGH BHAU

JAMMU, Mar 21: Jammu and Kashmir police is battling increasing number of rape cases and has failed to stem kidnappings and abductions.

These figures have not come from non-governmental organisations or private agencies nor are they result of some survey conducted by university or department but have been unveiled by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its report based on the cases registered by police across the country including Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2014. Hence, figures reported or the conclusions drawn from the same have no reason to be doubted or credibility questioned.

The report has dented credibility of Jammu and Kashmir Police which has been assigned the primary task of maintaining law and order besides ensuring safety of women and children. According to the report, J&K witnessed an upsurge in the cases of crime against women. Against the all India rate of 56.3 cases per one lakh population of Women, J&K saw 57 cases per one lakh population of Women, which is much higher than the all India rate.

Since rate of crime against women is far higher than the all India rate, this clearly indicates failure of J&K police in ensuring women safety in a state which has already been bearing the brunt of terrorist violence since the last 25 years. More agonising is the fact that rate of kidnapping and abduction which is 6.2 at the national level is 7 in Jammu and Kashmir. This is far higher than the national rate of abductions and kidnappings.

The rate indicates that J&K witnesses cases of kidnapping and abduction frequently with police being unable to stop the same. Though it has not been spelt out in the report which part of the state witnessed highest number of kidnappings and abductions but the fact remains that state has seen spurge in such cases. Rate of various cases registered under IPC has been reported as 195.5 in the case of Jammu and Kashmir against the All India rate of 229.2.

Against the total cases registered, J&K police disposed off 66.1 percent against the all India average of 71.9 percent. Though the disposal of cases is quite high but with 17.6 percent rate of disposal in the courts across the state, nothing much has moved on ground. Things have gone from bad to worse in Jammu and Kashmir since the disposal of the cases in the courts at the all India level is around 85.2 percent while in J&K, it is not only poor but dismal.

What makes these figures interesting is that despite charge sheeting rate of IPC crimes being around 86.2, J&K police has dismal record of ensuring conviction in the charge sheeted cases. Conviction rate is just 39.1 against the all india average of 56.3. High Court is often seen seething with anger over the inability of the police and its extended wings to ensure conviction in the cases registered against various offenders.

It often penalises police for lack of evidence being sole reason for criminals getting bailed out in even gravest of the offences. High Court is often seen repeatedly telling the police to ensure cases registered in various police stations across the state are taken to logical conclusion. But J&K police seems to have made up its mind not to listen to the repeated assertions, comments and directions of the courts across the state.

 

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