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Par panel ask Env Min to take "remedial measures" to avoid delay in release of funds


A parliamentary panel has asked the Environment Ministry to take "immediate remedial measures" to ensure there is no delay in release of funds so that the schemes under the National River Conservation Programme (NRCP) do not suffer and targets set are achieved in a time-bound manner. The ministry in its action taken report has told the parliamentary panel the matter is being pursued with the respective state governments to ensure speedy implementation of NRCP works and achievement of targets.

It said this in the 321st report on action taken by the ministry on the recommendations contained in the 313th report of the department-related parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and forest on the demands for grants (2018-19) of the Environment Ministry. The committee, chaired by Congress leader Anand Sharma, in its recommendation had opined that the reasons cited by the ministry for non-completion of targets set are "not tenable". The ministry has fallen too short of the targets and among the reasons submitted by it are slow progress of work and delay in release of Central funds, which speaks volumes about the sincerity of the ministry in implementing the programme, it said.

"The Committee recommends that the ministry needs to take immediate remedial measures and ensure that there is no delay in release of funds, both at Central and State level, so that the schemes of national importance do not suffer and targets set are achieved in a time-bound manner. "The ministry must also impress upon the state governments to ensure timely release of their corresponding share of funds and also to remove other bottlenecks at the state level to ensure physical achievements of the targets set," the committee said.

In its action taken report, the ministry said the Central share of funds for sanctioned projects under NRCP are released in phases to the respective state governments based on physical and financial progress achieved, release of its corresponding share by the state government together with submission of relevant Utilisation Certificates (UCs). "However, it has been observed that in some cases there are delays by the state governments in transfer of Central and State share to the implementing agencies, resulting in delay in implementation of projects and non-achievement of targets. "The matter is being pursued with the respective state governments to ensure speedy implementation of the NRCP works and achievement of targets," it said. The ministry also pointed out that the budget utilisation for NRCP in 2017-18 is 99.9 per cent (Rs. 173.34 crore against allocation of Rs. 173.50 crore).

Sewage treatment capacity of Rs. 53.00 million litres per day was targeted to be created under NRCP during the year 2017-18, against which 26.19 mld has been created in seven sewage treatment plants during the year, it said. "The balance capacity could not be created due to slow progress of work, delay in release of Central funds and its corresponding share by the Government of Nagaland to the implementing agency and other local issues in case of 25.43 mld STP at Gangtok, the alignment for which has changed due to earthquake, heavy rain and landslides leading to change in sewer alignment and land acquisition issue for the same," it said. "The matter is being rigorously pursued with the respective State Governments and both these STPs will be completed in the current financial year (2018-19)," it added.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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