CAG digs deep, finds crores embezzled by J&K’s Agri deptt

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Balwant Singh Bhau
Jammu Tawi, May 13
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found innumerable instances of under-performance, irregularities and incorrect utilisation certificates 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 upto March 2013. 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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