CAG slams Centre for not monitoring funds for ‘Fortified Police Stations’ in Naxal-hit states
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for its failure to monitor the unutilised funds lying with at least 10 states for the construction of fortified police stations or outposts in 83 districts affected by Left-wing extremist (LWE) violence.
The federal auditor has said that the funds amounting to Rs 52.18 crore out of Rs 623 crore was released between 2012 and 2016 for the construction of 400 police stations or outposts in 83 LWE-hit districts of 10 states.
But the funds were still lying unused even three years after the scheme had ceased to be in operation, the CAG has said in a report.
The CAG has pointed out that Madhya Pradesh (MP) spent about Rs 3.79 crore on the construction of two additional police stations, which were not part of the scheme, and has cited them as “irregular”.
Under the Fortified Police Stations (FPS) scheme, the MHA was tasked to assist the state governments in the construction and strengthening of 400 police stations at a cost of Rs 2 crore each for a police station. The allocation of funds between the Centre and state governments was on a ratio of 80:20.
The scheme was aimed at securing the police personnel from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) rebels. The scheme stipulated that high boundary walls, sophisticated control rooms and watchtowers were to be built in each of the 400 designated police stations or outposts in 83 LWE-hit districts of 10 states.
The report stated that the MHA had released Rs 623.89 crore between 2011-12 and 2015-16 to 10 states as a part of the Centre’s share.
Data showed that until August 2019, 397 police stations were constructed at a cost of Rs 751.33 crore, while the building of three more were still in progress in Bihar.
The scheme had ceased to be in operation from April 2016.
“The audit has noticed that the MHA while monitoring the scheme through progress reports submitted by the states had failed to recover the unutilised Central share lying with them (the states) on completion of the projects in contravention of the GFRs (General Financial Rules). On this being pointed out by the audit, the MHA sought information about the unutilised Central share from the state governments in May 2018. The status as of September 2019 revealed that in eight states, there were savings, including interests, to the tune of Rs 52.18 crore, while MP had utilised the unutilised Central assistance of Rs 3.79 crore on the construction of two additional police stations,” the report said.
The MHA has recovered Rs 22.69 crore, but Rs 33.28 crore is still outstanding from at least eight states, it added.
The MHA is yet to respond to HT’s queries.