PM’s cabinet committee to ensure that money is not squandered

Dehra Dun : Hill Post about a month back had written that the bureaucracy in Uttarakhand is its biggest bane. It is now officially confirmed. Member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), V K Duggal who was specially sent here by the centre to oversee the relief and rescue operations in the gruesome tragedy that his this state has come out strongly against the ‘babudom’ in his report to the centre.

Though the report has not been made public, but informed sources said that he has come out strongly against the state bureaucracy and officials for their lackadaisical manner and non-coordination in handling the relief and rescue operations at the critical juncture in this small mountain state.

Duggal who was camped here eversince the tragedy struck Uttarakhand was closely monitoring the relief and rescue operations being undertaken, besides the coordination between the state and central agencies involved in providing relief to those who were stranded or devastated by the disaster.

He has also passed remarks against some of the top bureaucratic officers of the state and their style of functioning.

Highly placed sources said that immediately on his return to Delhi, a couple of days back, Duggal met the union home minister Sushil Shinde and some other senior officers of the PMO, where he gave his first hand information on the working of the Uttarakhand bureaucracy.

It was because of this report that the Prime Minister announced the formation of a cabinet committee to oversee the rehabilitation and reconstruction of this flood ravaged small mountain state.

They said that fears were being apprehended that the Rs 1000 crores package announced by the Prime Minister after his aerial survey of the devastates areas and Rs 350 crores announced by the union rural development ministry may be “squandered and not utilized” effectively to ensure that the reconstruction and rehabilitation work is done properly.

It was with this fear in mind and that the benefits may not percolate down to benefit the masses of the food devastated regions of this small mountain state that the cabinet committee, comprising of 14 members was formed. Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna is a permanent invitee member of the committee to guide it on issues of importance at the ground level.

Other members of the committee, besides the Prime Minister include union defence minister A K Antony, union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, union finance minister P Chidambaram, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, union surface transport minister Oscar Fernandes, union law minister Kapil Sibal, union housing minister Girija Vyas, union rural development minister, Jairam Ramesh and union water resources minister Harish Rawat.

Permanent invited members of the committee besides chief minister Vijay bahuguna are vice chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Shashidhar Reddy.

Sources said that the committee will not only oversee and monitor the rehiabilitation and reconstruction that is being undertaken in various parts of the flood ravaged areas of the state from time to time, but will also ensure that the state gets adequate relief package to meet the costs of the works that will be undertaken.

Meanwhile there are tremors in the Uttarakhand bureaucracy following the report given by Duggal, and the cabinet committee formed by the Prime Minister as it has a direct bearing on the credibility and integrity of the ‘babudom’ in this small mountain state, which has gained a reputation for thje wrong reasons.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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