CAG Report Unearths Rural Roads Scams In Jharkhand

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A Comptroller & Auditor General’s Report, in short called the CAG Report, the much feared report by the ruling political class of all hues, it is no different in Jharkhand; the said report was recently tabled in the ongoing session of the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha (or State Assembly), this report showed the “Poor-Performance on the Governance-Front” by the successive state governments.

The CAG Report slammed the Jharkhand Government’s performance on the several counts.  However it seems that the opposition parties failed to vociferously point out the inefficiencies of the government in the ongoing Assembly; more so on the various developmental issues, as pointed out in the CAG report.

Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha
Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha

Now let us see what the CAG Annual Report stated on the Rural Areas’ connectivity in Jharkhand.

  • The Report said: Jharkhand completed only 164 roads in order to provide connectivity to 496 habitations against the target of 1,957 rural roads to be constructed for providing connectivity to 5,427 targeted habitations.

Our Comments: Less than 10% on the twin yardsticks of the Road Completion Rate as well as providing Rural Connectivity. The funds were provided by the Central Government under Centrally sponsored schemes and they were unable to utilize the Developmental Funds and result 90% of the targeted work remained untouched or incomplete.

Points to Note: Firstly, these rural habitats were to be connected by the all-weather roads under the PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana) and it covers Five year-long period, from 2005 to 2010. Secondly, in the half a decade long period, Jharkhand saw the reign of Three Chief Ministers, viz., Arjun Munda, Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren besides the two short spells of Governors’ reign (under the President’s rule).

Our Remarks: The successive governments failed miserably in the five-year period and they could complete less than 10% of the developmental works and that too with the widespread financial bungling and the substandard quality of roads.

  • The Report said: Many interesting types of the fraudulent practices came into light, for instance, the Road Contractors submitted fake invoices for buying bitumen and other road construction materials, also wrong entries were made in log books and based on that the Contractors and the Government Officials claimed that the Road construction work was complete. In addition some Contractors were favoured in realization of liquidated damages, grant of advances for mobilization and equipments. Also the reports filed by the National Quality Monitor / State Quality Monitor on the poor quality of roads and doubtful procurement of bitumen were ignored by the Government Authorities. The result is pathetic quality of rural roads in Jharkhand.

(i) It named 5 Contractors, who submitted fake invoices in Chakradharpur, Daltonganj, Deoghar, Gumla, Giridih and Ranchi. They were paid Rs 1.07 crore by the concerned Government Officials.

(ii) The Government Officials in Bokaro, Chaibasa, Chakradharpur, Dumka, Deoghar and Giridih paid Rs. 2.33 crore to the Contractors for the purchase of bitumen, and it was found that their submitted invoices were inadmissible.

(iii) A Contractor was paid Rs. 68.69 lakh for building a 2.60 k.m. long road, from Gangjori More to Barmasia Road in Bokaro; the most interesting aspect was that the said road was already constructed from the State Government funds in the past.

(iv) For the construction 86 roads, the Government Officials spent Rs. 96.11 crores; amusingly in the absence of connecting bridges, such roads are unable to provide the all-weather connectivity to the rural folks. These roads are in Bokaro, Chakradharpur, Daltonganj, Deoghar, Dumka, Giridih, Gumla and Ranchi.

Our Comments: The unholy nexus of Politicians – their Party Karyakarta (working as Road Contractors) – and Government Officials continue to loot.

Our Remarks: In Jharkhand there is dearth of basic infrastructures like all-weather of roads. The complete absence of Good–Governance, besides the Corruption in the Execution of the all kinds Developmental Projects of all the Government Departments in the state of Jharkhand, pushes our Jharkhand into the nightmarish state of inertia. As a result in the vast majority of villages remain unconnected with the urban centres and are being denied even the bare minimum fruits of development, viz., Electricity, Drinking and Irrigation Water, Road, Health (Medical Centres), Education (Schools), etc.

The recently tabled CAG report spoke in very loud voice about the incompetence of the entire government machinery to carry out welfare and development programmes in Jharkhand. It appears as if the entire administrative and elaborate governance system has to step forward and take the blame for the acts of omission and commission, their utter failure to put an end to the all-pervasive corruption and ongoing loot-raj in the poor state of Jharkhand. But this may never-ever happen.

The life and corruption in Rural Road Department simply goes on in Jharkhand.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Author, Salvaging Adidweep.


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