CAG seeks details of all decisions taken by Noida authority board since 1976
CAG officials are of the view that the Noida authority board took many decisions which were not even in its jurisdiction. The board’s decisions related to giving loans to various authorities, including the Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities, have been questionedUpdated: Feb 19, 2018 17:09 IST
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has sought details of all the board meetings that have taken place in NOIDA (the New Okhla industrial development authority) since 1976.
CAG had started its audit into the functioning of Noida authority on November 21, 2017.
The Uttar Pradesh government had in 1976 established the New Okhla industrial development authority with an aim to acquire agricultural land from farmers to set up industries. Noida authority, which functions under the UP Industrial Act, 1976, was formed as an autonomous body to take quick decisions to fast track industrial and infrastructure projects. Since 1976, the Noida authority board takes all its important policy decisions and has top bureaucrats as its members.
“The CAG has sought details of all agendas that have been approved in the board meetings since 1976. We are providing all details sought by the CAG for audit purposes,” Manmohan Singh, financial controller of the Noida authority, said.
Among the important decisions that the board has taken are sending ₹350 crore from Noida authority to cities in eastern Uttar Pradesh for their development, giving loans to other government bodies such as Agra development authority, UP state industrial development corporation, the Greater Noida authority and the Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority.
On July 11, 2017, the principal secretary of industrial development department, Alok Sinha, had written to Vinita Mishra, the accountant general (economic and revenue sector audit), Lucknow, in this regard.
The audit is being conducted in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities. CAG will audit all accounts and transactions that take place in three authorities.
Controversy erupted over allowing CAG access to these authorities during last year’s UP assembly poll campaign, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged large-scale corruption in the Ghaziabad development authority.
The then Samajwadi Party-led state government had denied permission to the CAG to audit the GDA despite governor Ram Naik’s intervention. The accountant general had brought the matter to the notice of the governor through letters on May 5 and May 31, 2016. Naik then took up the issue with President Pranab Mukerjee. “For the purpose of transparency, audit should be carried out wherever government funds are given,” Naik had said.
The CAG audit may scrutinise—besides checks on procedures, utilisation of funds and progress of projects—the terms of contracts, agencies and contractors to whom the projects were awarded.
“CAG officials are of the view that the Noida authority board took many decisions which were not even in its jurisdiction. The board’s decisions related to giving loans to various authorities, including the Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities, have been questioned,” a Noida authority official said.
In 2009, the NOIDA had started giving loans to the Yamuna authority which did not have funds of its own for infrastructure and other developmental projects. Since then, the YEIDA has been taking loans from Noida authority. At present, the Yamuna authority owes ₹1,347.09 crore to NOIDA. Similarly, the Greater Noida authority has failed to repay Noida authority ₹3785.95 crore due to the economic slowdown in the realty sector.
“CAG has questioned why did it (Noida authority) give loans to other authorities and sent ₹350 crore to eastern UP cities,” an official said.
First Published: Feb 19, 2018 17:05 IST