Address development disparities in Mandi district of Himachal – CAG

Shimla: The disconnect between grass root planning and that of the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office in Mandi district has made Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) point out that disparities between various regions and communities exist that are not being addressed.

A district centric audit carried out by the auditor for the 2006-11 period to assess the status and impact of implementation of various socio-economic developmental activities noted that there was no integrated district plan, in the first place.

Schemes were sanctioned on adhoc basis by the DC office based on proposals submitted by MPs, MLAs or other individuals as per the perceived benefits to the local populace, the auditor observes.

Local levels of administration like blocks and Panchayats were not involved in providing an inputs to the planning process, the report mentions.

To the surprise of the auditor, the total flow of funds to the district during 2006-11 and expenditure incurred was not available with any of the district administration officials.

Audit scrutiny revealed that district development planning and 20 point program review committee had not prepared any perspective or annual action plan.

A review of the status of education showed that while number of government elementary schools (upto class 8) increased from 2061 to 2117 from 2006-07 to 2010-11 the number of students came down from 1.27,917 to 1,08,256 in the period under audit.

Of these 2117 schools, as many as 1917 were without playgrounds, 88 without drinking water and 543 without separate girls toilets, the auditor records

In response to a drop in enrollment from 15,752 students in Class X in 2006-07 to 15,570 in 2010-11, the education department officials stated that it was due to students shifting to private schools.

Scrutiny revealed that deputy director education, who is mandated to inspect the schools once a year, had not done so in the district in 5 years.

Under social security pensions provided to widows and aged people, the auditor noted that Rs 62.59 lakhs had been given to 638 ineligible persons during the period.

Doing a test check of water supply schemes, the auditors noted that of the 10,237 habitations in the district, 6862 habitations were fully covered by a water scheme, 3333 partially covered and 42 uncovered.

However, in terms of quality of water supplied, the report mentions that “unsafe water was being supplied as a result substantial number, 2,44,125 cases of water borne diseases which included gastroenteritis, typhoid and viral hepatitis were noticed.

Urban sewerage schemes for Sarkaghat and Sundernagar townships were lagging 10 years behind schedule due to poor development by Irrigation and Public Health department.

After Kangra, Mandi happens to be the second largest district of the state and has a representation of 10 legislators in the Vidhan Sabha.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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