CAG yet to get nod for Oberoi Hotel Wildflower Audit

Shimla: The Himachal government is still to give its formal consent for undertaking an audit of Hotel Wildflower Hotel, Satish Loomba, principal accountant general Himachal stated before media persons here today.

When questioned about CAG doing a special audit of Mashobra Resorts Pvt Ltd, the joint venture company between Oberoi group EIH as the majority shareholder and Himachal government  which runs the five star property, the auditor said that since the government was a minority shareholder in the company, an audit could only be done by way of a special permission granted by the Governor. So far we have not got that permission, he said.

Hotel Wildflower Hall

Loomba was interacting with the media  after the CAG reports were laid in the Vidhan Sabha yesterday.

Interestingly, the Himachal cabinet presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh has approved that the company’s that runs Hotel Wildflower Hall would be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The premier hotel has been incurring losses and a dispute about shareholding and investments made is before the courts.

The venture is on based on a profit sharing agreement, said the auditor.

Speaking about losses on stamp duty and registration, the auditor said that in absence of appropriate law revenue losses were incurring on stamp duty and registrations of land sale deeds, corporate lease lands holdings, NBFCs registration and for want of installing HIMRIS, a software for monitoring arrears.

He said, there was no data of revenue remitted due to grant of exemptions with the Inspector General of Registration office.

None of the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) operating in Himachal had purchased their insurance stamps from treasuries of the state and these companies were paying stamp duties in other states, where there corporate offices were located.

The revenue of insurance stamps used on those transactions was a loss to Himachal and was being pocketed by other states.

There was also no law to ensure that for transacting a land sale or lease deed, the stamp papers should necessarily be bought in the state for one could purchase them from any treasury in the country, which results in a revenue loss to the state, said Loomba.

Satish Loomba
Satish Loomba

Responding to queries about the performance audit of 559 power projects allotted to the private sector since 1991, the state auditor said the report could not calculate the loss incurred to the state exchequer for non completion of 90 percent of these projects over a 20 year period.

At the exit conference with the multipurpose projects and power (MPP) department, we did impress upon the department to throw up some figures of the notional revenue losses incurred by the state but were unable to do so, said Loomba.

Of the 10131 MW capacity of power project allotted over the period only 1805.45 MW capacity had been harnessed in 20 years by the private sector, he added.

Auditing the accounts of HP State Electricity Board Ltd, the auditor pointed out the for failing to executed sub-stations and power lines in time during the 2007-12 period resulted in cost overruns of Rs 99.62 Cr and non-realisation of anticipated revenue of Rs 1031.27 cr.

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