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Chandigarh fails to recover Rs 40 lakh for sprucing up Raj Bhawans

Audit report: Punjab, Haryana govts have not paid the horticulture dept for the works in past two fiscals

punjab Updated: Jan 15, 2018 11:31 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Rs 40 lakh,sprucing up Raj Bhawans
The horticulture department spent ₹9 lakh on landscaping at Punjab Raj Bhawan in 2016-17.(HT File)

The UT horticulture department has failed to recover Rs 40 lakh from the Punjab and Haryana governments for landscaping and development works at the two governor houses in the last two fiscals.

The audit report of the UT accountant general has pointed out this lapse on part of the executive engineer, horticulture division number 2.

Rs 4 cr spent on outsourced gardeners
  • Against the shortage of 37 gardeners, the UT administration outsourced the work to 101 gardeners last year, said the audit report.
  • As much as Rs 4 crore were paid to different contractors who provided the manpower to the division office.
  • By making this expenditure on account of salaries to the unsanctioned gardeners, the department caused loss to the government exchequer, said the report.

The report stated that the division carried out landscaping and other works at both Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawans, located in Sector 6, Chandigarh.

While Rs 9 lakh were spent on landscaping at Punjab Raj Bhawan, Rs 3 lakh were spent on Haryana Raj Bhawan last year. The expenditure was to be debited from the funds allocated for the purpose in the state governments’ budget.

However, besides this amount, the UT administration even failed to recover Rs 28 lakh for development works carried at the two governor houses in 2015-16.Jarnail Singh Saini, executive engineer, horticulture, said he was not aware of the facts as he had joined just last month.

“I will look into it the matter on Monday, and put the case before the authorities concerned for recovering the amount,” he said.

RK Garg, city-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, said both Punjab and Haryana claim their stake in the City Beautiful, but never come forward to help it out. “The part of budgetary allocation made to Chandigarh is being spent on their own properties and offices here,” he said.

‘Rs 24-lakh wasteful expenditure’

The report also pointed out that the horticulture department spent Rs 24 lakh on improving the city’s green cover but didn’t purchase tree guards to prevent destruction of the planted saplings. The department planted around 7,000 trees and 27,000 shrubs during the drive since 2015 at a cost of Rs 24 lakh.

However, in the absence of tree guards (grilles), most of the trees and shrubs were destroyed, said the report.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 11:27 IST