The municipal corporation is yet to collect over Rs 12 crore from water bill defaulters, a backlog of five years. The annual audit report also pointed out that the civic body never took steps to recover the amount. Besides, the revenue that comes from collecting water bills has gone down by Rs 5 crore in the past two years. In 2015, the same collection was Rs 60 crore. This dropped to Rs 55 crore in 2016 and is expected to dip further this year.
The report stated that it was advised that the defaulting officers take up the responsibility of paying surcharge or penalty due to non-payment of previous bills and that water metres should be replaced for those bills which are being claimed on an average basis.
Loss of Rs 20 lakh due to variation in bitumen rate
The report stated that the civic body suffered a loss of Rs 20 lakh due to variation in bitumen rate for the re-carpeting of roads in divisions 1 and 3. According to the report, officials of both the divisions deducted the discount offered by the contractor from the work bill after taking into consideration the fluctuation in the rate of bitumen. But in division 2, officials deducted the discount from the work bill in the first instance and allowed the fluctuation in the rate of bitumen.
According to rules, if there is any variation in the rate of straight run bitumen VG30, VG10 grade or emulsion bitumen of IOC (Indian Oil Corporation), the same should be assessed and payment adjusted with the condition that extra money for hike in the rate of bitumen should be payable only if the bitumen was arranged by the contractor within the stipulated time. In case the bitumen is not procured within the stipulated time period, then the rates should be payable as minimum rates within stipulated period or the actual rate of procurement bitumen within justified extended period, whichever is minimum.
Bitumen’s rate is revised regularly by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). Earlier it was a trend that outdated bitumen rates were followed. Increase in bitumen rates were settled after the work was completed. It led to delays and complications in settlement of bills with contractors for months together. During last term, it was insisted that revised bitumen rates from IOC website may be followed as it is. That solved the problem of delays. Estimates came closer to realistic expenses.
Flaws in double-entry system procedure
The MC introduced double-entry system in the civic body in October 2015. The new payment procedure involves the accounting and disbursement of one voucher at two levels. The main office of the MC will have copies of the bills as a substantial document or voucher for the audit of the main cash book instead of the original vouchers. A copy of the bill might not become the voucher for the main cash book and this might also lead to double payment of one voucher.
The audit report pointed out departments such as medical officer health, fire wing and the Manimajra sub office were not following procedure. Accordingly, the accounting system of the entire civic body will be on a central level.