By Paritosh Chakma
THE LATEST report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, tabled in the State Assembly by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on March 29, 2011, has made stunning revelations about the implementation of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in Mizoram. The CAG has found that BADP has been a failure in the state due to “inherent deficiency in planning and implementation of the programme”.
BADP implementation is plagued with high level corruption, the CAG report has revealed. The Rural Development department drew an amount of Rs 46.76 crore during 2005-2010 presenting false bills to the government treasury before actual commencement of approved works, the CAG report has stated. Further, out of Rs 103.40 crore drawn during 2005-2010, only Rs 23.40 crore (23 per cent) was released to the 16 Rural Development Blocks, and the remaining Rs 80 crore (77 per cent) was disbursed in the subsequent financial years, causing inordinate delay.
Further, the RD department incurred an expenditure of Rs 6.71 crore during 2005-2010 towards execution of 134 “ineligible” works, mainly pertaining to construction of office buildings, residential accommodations and rest houses. Expenditure under infrastructure sector constituted 55 per cent of the total expenditure while social, education, security, health and agriculture sectors were utterly neglected.
The CAG report further castigated the RD department for its failure to prepare comprehensive district plans and village wise baseline surveys, as required under the BADP Guidelines. Neither the local authorities were consulted nor the villages situated near to the international borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh were identified for preparation of Annual Action Plan for 2009-2010. “As a result, the BADP failed to meet the needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas near the borders”, the CAG report said.
Corruption in the BADP in Mizoram, which shares international borders of 404 kms with Myanmar and 318 kms with Bangladesh, is an open secret. Earlier in December 2009, Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF), which works among the border people, cautioned about the corrupt practices taking place.
“The prima facie evidence of leakage of funds is the absolute lack of development in the areas closest to the international border. Because the state government has been submitting utilization reports claiming full utilization of the BADP funds, the primary question is: Where are the money flowing since there is little improvement in the living condition of the border people?’” asked MCDF.
The Forum further pointed out that Mizoram Chief Secretary Vanhela Pachuau on May 26, 2009 had admitted corruption in BADP and warned strong action against anyone found misusing the BADP funds. Mizoram Chief Secretary Vanhela Pachuau must therefore act upon the CAG findings and prosecute the wrong doers.