J&K: CAG critical of power dept's functioning

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report has pointed out major faults in the power development department, headed by chief minister, for host of factors including non-formulation of the state electricity policy, state electricity plan (SEP), time overrun in completion of projects and poor headway in total metering, resulting of loss of hundreds of crores.

The state, which suffers 56% transmission and distribution losses, the highest in the country, is plagued by long hours of power shutdown, both in peak winter and summers when it's needed the most in Kashmir and Jammu regions.

Non-planning and development
The state transmission utility (STU) along with the central transmission utility (CTU) holds key role in responsibility of network planning and development based on the national electricity plan. The department is also responsible for the assessment of demand for power.

Even though the government had enacted an act to prepare the plan and notify it once in five years, the government had, as on July 2012, not made any plan and policy.

As a result, the works were carried out in standalone mode without taking into account the assessment demand and requirement for capacity buildings.

In 2011-12, the power purchasing expenditure was Rs 3,000 crore, while revenue was only Rs 1,993 crore, mainly because of absence of full metering.

Poor execution
In 2011-12, the department had planned 19 sub-stations but added 11. It had planned 2,434 transformer capacitors (MVA) but added 1,596 and for transmission lines (CKM) it planned 930 but could execute only 324-shortall of 65%.

The report notes that poor execution was the major reason for non-achievements of capacity addition targets. The department didn't do preparatory work in advance for survey, design and getting necessary clearance and also tendering activities, which resulted in cost overrun.

Delay in completion of works
The power sector boost under Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan in 2003 and the cost of projects involving 66 works - construction of 24 grid sub-stations, laying of 37 transmission lines and augmentation of five existing sub-stations was finally revised to Rs 1,351 crore by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Despite recommendations of the task force of timely execution of projects, the time overrun in completion of 40 projects, including grid sub-stations, transmission lines and augmentation ranged between three to 48 months and the audit report observed cost overrun of Rs 113 crore in 23 out of 40 projects.

Not only that, 26 projects were incomplete (March 2012) despite time overrun ranging from 20 to 48 months. Because of the delay, another revision in respect of 17 incomplete projects major projects with cost overrun of Rs 155 crore against already revised cost of Rs 506 crore in 2006.

The report noted that the delay was mainly due to right-of-way problems, changes in designs, litigation problems and getting necessary clearance because the government didn't take the preparatory steps.

Projects initiated without clearnace
Even though it was clearly stated that no project would be started without the necessary clearance from the forest department and land acquisitions, eight projects were undertaken in its absence and an expenditure of Rs 155 crores was incurred and finally they had to be stopped.

Pulls up govt for not submitting utilisation certificates
JammuL The CAG has pulled up the state government for failing to submit 2,931 utilisation certificates amounting to over Rs 2,118 crore to the Centre as on March 2011.

"A total number of 2,931 Utilisation Certificates amounting to Rs 2,118 crore were outstanding as of 31st March 2012," CAG report on state finances for the year ended 31st of March 2012, said. The report, which was recently tabled in the JK Assembly,
said, of these, UCs amounting to Rs 1,727 crore were outstanding for more than one year. "It was as high as 7.4% of the total expenditure incurred in 2011-12 and requires close monitoring," CAG report,said.

According to rules, for grants provided for specific purpose, UCs should be obtained by the departmental officers and after verification, these should be forwarded to Accountant General within 18 months from the date of their sanction unless specified otherwise, the report said. Terming it a "lacklustre attitude", the CAG said pendency of submission of UCs was bound to affect flow of the funds to these agencies in future. PTI


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