Presenting a damning audit report of the Punjab government, the state’s principal accountant general on Wednesday underlined that seven private universities were created without following rules; that schoolchildren had to go without mid-day meal; that drug de-addiction centres could not retain majority of their patients; and that the mandi board favoured certain private contractors and awarded work without tenders.
Also, a section of the public works department (PWD) has been without work for decades, said the report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and tabled in the state assembly. It highlighted irregularities and deficiencies leading to a loss of almost Rs 145 crore by the departments of higher education, housing, technical education and health, besides the PWD and others, in the financial year 2014-15. Information for final compilation of the report was received till January 2016.
About the universities, the report said that, in 2012, Adesh University was allowed to be created despite an inspection committee and a high-powered committee of the chief secretary noting that the promoters had not complied with conditions of the Punjab Private Universities Policy, 2010.
Even at DAV University in Jalandhar, said the report, “availability of infrastructural facilities as provided in the policy was not ensured by the government”. As per records, its proposed building was under construction (July 2013) at the time of nod, and only quotations invited by the sponsoring body were considered evidence of purchase of books worth Rs 50 lakh, the report added.
About Lovely Professional University (LPU), information received from the chief town planner in April 2015 and the LPU website said it was established on 600 acres, with 10 lakh square feet of built-up area (up to 2006) on Phagwara Road, Jalandhar. But, neither had the sponsoring body obtained permission for change of land use (CLU), nor had it deposited the external development charges, licence fee and scrutiny fee. This resulted in an undue financial favour to the promoter, said the report.
Adesh University, Desh Bhagat University, Guru Kashi University and Rayat Bahra University too did not have CLU.
In all, seven private universities, including Chitkara University and Chandigarh University, were allowed to be set up without the approval of building plans, thus leading to to non-recovery of external development charges and licence fee of Rs 3 crore.
No regulatory mechanism
From 2010 to 2014, the state government granted approval to establishment of universities only on the basis of undertakings and affidavits submitted by the promoters that they would comply with policy norms. “No regulatory mechanism for private universities was set up at the state government level to safeguard the interests of stakeholders,” said the report.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) also failed to carry out periodic inspection of these universities except an initial inspection of some of these. At Desh Bhagat, Adesh, Chitkara, Chandigarh University, SGGS World University and Guru Kashi University, more than 150 teachers were graduates only, many of them teaching post-graduate classes, said the report.
Who is accountable? Faults, favours underlined
About Mid-day Meal Scheme
o Meal not served to over 50,000 children in 32 govt-aided schools in Amritsar and Ludhiana
o Of Rs 15 crore for scheme, Rs 8 crore not allocated to schools
o Fair quality of foodgrains was not ensured
At Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
o Irregular grant of secretariat pay to employees
o It offered courses not specified by UGC
o Shortage of teaching and non-teaching staff
On Drugs and Cosmetics Act
o Licences of manufacturing/selling units renewed after months of delay; also, delay in action against people whose licences were cancelled
o Inspections not carried out; only 52 out of 120 drug inspectors working
o Test reports of 115 samples from state drug testing lab delivered after one year
About NABARD-assisted projects
o NABARD and agri funds of over Rs 70 crore not released to mandi board
o Chief engineer of mandi board deducted Rs 10 crore as cess from project funds instead of taking from contractors
o Works worth Rs 10 crore allotted without a single tender; works worth Rs 19 crore allotted on single tender; works worth Rs 520 crore started before technical nods
From 13th Finance Commission
o Rs 720 crore not availed due to delayed submission of utilisation certificates to Union govt
o Rs 256 crore not released to project-implementing agencies.
o To get subsequent grants, state govt gave inflated utilisation certificates in some cases
o Non-release of Rs 6 crore by Union govt as utilisation certificate not submitted for 1st intalllment
o 67 speciality clinics could not be constructed/established
o Misappropriation of user charges at Mansa civil hospital
In AIDS CONTROL
o Against target of 40% reduction in new infections, reduction only 1%
o Daily client load of injecting drug users in treatment centres 63% higher than maximum load of 200 patients
o Up to 50% of the injecting drug users left therapy in between
At Saanjh Kendras
o 37% of the targeted number of Saanjh Kendras not established
o Facilitation charges of Rs 20 crore retained by home dept outside govt account; service tax of Rs 60 lakh not deposited
o Staff to Saanjh Kendras were personnel diverted from the existing police force
In housing and PWD
o A division of the PWD remained without work for more than five years, rendering expenditure of Rs 7 crore on salaries
o Irregular refund of charges and fees resulted in a loss of Rs 13 crore to GMADA
o Execution of works without technical sanction led to cost escalation; rectification work allotted to new contractor instead of getting it done from defaulting contractor