Zeliang demands Vigilance probe into delay in grant-in-aid to VDBs

Zeliang demands Vigilance probe into delay in grant-in-aid to VDBs
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Dimapur, January 7: Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang has urged Governor of Nagaland to immediately order investigation by the State Vigilance Commission into the delay in release of grant-in-aid amounting to Rs 96 crores under State Rural Development Department in the interest of the people of Nagaland.
In a memorandum to the Governor, the opposition leaders said the Union Ministry of Finance had released an amount of Rs 185.09 crores dated 8th November, 2017 to the Government of Nagaland during 2017-18 for the areas not included in Part IX and IXA of the Constitution of India with clear direction that the grant should be applicable for utilisation in consonance with the guidelines for release of grants to ‘Excluded Areas’ which the Ministry of Finance issued as Office Memorandum 13(34)FFC/FCD/2017-18, dated 20th October, 2017.
Zeliang said as per laid down guidelines which states that “there shall be a High Level Committee (HLC) headed by Chief Secretary/Senior Official of the State Government for overall monitoring of the developmental activities being carried out in Excluded areas,” a High Level Committee (HLC) was constituted under the chairmanship of State Chief Secretary, Pankaj Kumar on 13th December, 2017.
To coordinate and liaise with the Department in the State for utilisation of grants, Rural Development Department was designated as the Nodal Department for effective and successful implementation of the programme in the State.
The opposition leader said the HLC as per sanction approved a sum of Rs 96 crores as grant-in-aid for the 74 RD Blocks in the State. The first HLC meeting was held on 22nd December, 2017 in the conference hall of the State Chief Secretary and accordingly meeting minutes of the same was issued vide letter No. RD/VDB-GIA-33/2017 on 17th January, 2018.
The next day, on 18th January, 2018, Election Model Code of Conduct was announced by the Election Commission of India which compelled the previous DAN Government to keep the release of fund in abeyance, he said.
Zeliang stated that the State Finance Department had released the total amount of Rs 185.09 crores to the State Rural Development Department in the month of March, 2018 after formation of the present-day PDA Government.
“In light of the above, what has emerged is the fact that the State Department of Rural Development for reason best known to it, has delayed the release of Grant-in-Aid amounting to Rs 96 crores although a new Government was installed in March, 2018. Also, sub-allocations were made by the Department after modifying the allocation approved by the High Level Committee (HLC) contrary to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India,” he claimed.
Zeliang alleged that not only did the State Department of Rural Development made modification to the allocation approved by the High Level Committee (HLC) before making sub-allocations but it has also failed to clear the release of grant-in-aid amounting to Rs 96 crores to the VDBs.
“This act of the State Department of Rural Development under the present day PDA Government is highly questionable and malafide intentions cannot be ruled out,” he said.
In this regard, the LoP urged the Governor to immediately order for investigation by State Vigilance Commission into the matter in the larger interest of the people of Nagaland. (Page News Service)