PAC raises serious financial impropriety over execution of pending Railway projects
A Parliamentary panel has raised serious “financial impropriety” on the expenditure on various Railway projects over the years.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC), headed by Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in its latest Action Taken Report (ATR) on accounting of projects in Indian Railways also recommended for penal action against some of the erring officials.
The 8th report of action taken was tabled in both the houses in the current Budget session. Following the presentation of 109th report on the same subject in the last 16th Lok Sabha, Ministry of Railways gave their observations to that report.
After studying the observations made by the Ministry, the Committee came to the conclusion that the Ministry had failed to reduce the unsanctioned expenditure of the projects and out of 5737 on account bills, 5118 bills were passed without material reconciliation statement.
The 109th Report of PAC was based on the Audit review of accounting of projects in Indian Railways where Audit had observed that Indian Railways was not following its own rules and regulations laid down in Finacial code and engineering codes for efficient execution of projects and proper accounting of financial transactions. The committee had recommended that chief accounting authorities of the Railway board, as well as concerned accounting authorities in all Zonal railways, should be held accountable an suitable actions should also be taken against them. Though the PAC has acknowledged that Railway authorities did take some steps in this regard but it expressed its dismay over not controlling unsanctioned costs which was significant.
The report also mentions that “committee is not convinced with the Ministry’s contention that due to safety considerations works were required to be executed pending regularisations of expenditure.”
It goes on to say “committee are deeply constrained to note that out of 674 completion certificate 409 completion certificates are yet to be drawn.” The committee recommended that “since repeated instructions have not produced the desired results , the committee recommends that penal measures should be taken against the officers for not submitting the CR certificate in time.”
The committee also deplores the vague and evasive response given by the Ministry to their recommendations on the regularisation of long-pending projects. The committee also expressed its concern on finding expenditure of Rs 5001 crore having been incurred on 625 unsanctioned projects and suggested suitable action.