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Mohali MC suffered 1cr losses, could have been avoided: Audit

The civic body carried out some work despite objections by the audit department, say officials
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Hillary Victor, Mohali
UPDATED ON MAR 18, 2020 12:30 AM IST

The audit department of Mohali’s municipal corporation has said that the civic body has faced a loss of 1 crore on various accounts in the past year, a loss that it said was avoidable .The losses, as per audit department, have occurred due to funds spent on renovation work of government houses occupied by Mohali DC and ADC for several years, for which rents have not been paid. Other causes of loss are the functioning of libraries on green belts, money paid to gaushala and the opening of current accounts.

20 lakh on renovating govt houses
The three government houses for Mohali MC officers in Phase 5, as per audit department, have been occupied by Mohali’s DC and ADC for the past several years, but no rent has been paid. Last year, the civic body spent 20 lakh renovating the houses, a task that should have been undertaken by the district administration. It said the MC has made no effort to recover the rent, which has run into crores of rupees.

Paid 12 lakh to library staff
The audit has also raised objections to functioning of libraries in the city’s green belts which are under the MC and were built a few months ago. Despite audit objections, MC has paid 12 lakh to 19 employees who were recruited in violation of rules. These libraries are located in Phases 4, 6, 3-B1 and 9, and Sectors 69 and 70.

In its objection, it stated that as per Punjab government policy 2017, no recruitment can be done through outsourcing or contractual basis without government approval, but the MC recruited a librarian, helper and security guard at each library.

Later in February this year, all 19 employees were sacked.

Lost 20 L in shifting funds to current account
The audit said the MC lost 20 lakh after it transferred 20 crore, pertaining to property tax, from a public bank to a current account of a private bank. The matter came to light when the audit raised the objection, following which civic body closed the current account.

Earlier, property tax was deposited in Punjab National Bank, which is located in MC premises. The civic body was earning 4% interest on the sum from the PNB account. In September 2019, the MC opened a current account in HDFC Bank in Phase-3B2 in which it deposited about 20 crore, but got no interest as it was a current account.

MC paid 48 L for gaushala
The civic body is paying 48 lakh per month to Gouri Shankar Sewa Dal, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) running Mohali’s lone gaushala in Industrial area Phase-1 for the past one year. The MC is paying 13 per day per animal to the NGO.

As per audit’s objection, when the tender was floated, the NGO did not quote any rate, assuring them of running the gaushala free of cost, by utilising income procured by selling cowdung, milk and from public donations. However, after running the gaushala for free over three months, they later requested the MC that they were finding it difficult to run the place due to inadequate finances and demanded 27 per animal per day.

When the General House approved 13 per animal per day, the director of local bodies directed the MC to pursue the matter as per rules and regulations. However, the civic body has continued to pay the gaushala.

As per rule, the tender should have been re-invited for competitive bidding so a correct estimate could have been ascertained, which could have been even lower than 13 per animal per day.

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Commissioner’s take

Speaking on the matter, MC commissioner Kamal Kumar Garg said he was aware of some of the objections raised by the audit department. “However, I feel the objections raised are not genuine. Although I have not seen the audit report yet, but I will definitely look into it.”

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