Pawan Hans given undue benefit: CAG

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 13

The state government extended undue favour to Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) while hiring a helicopter for use, resulting in wasteful expenditure to the tune of Rs 25.36 crore.

This has been revealed in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the year ended March 31, 2019, which was tabled in the Vidhan Sabha today by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio.

"An unjustified and arbitrary award of a 10 per cent annual increase in rates resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 18.39 crore," the report on Social, General and Economic sectors (non-public sector undertakings) states. It says that the adjustment of excess/ deficit flying hours on an yearly basis instead of over the term of the contract, resulted in a wasteful expenditure of Rs 6.97 crore on unutilised flying hours.

The CAG report pointed out that undue favour was given to the PHL by inserting and modifying conditions that excluded other bidders, allowing it to qualify the technical evaluation ignoring the serious issues of its poor safety record and allowing extension of the contract despite unsatisfactory service delivery.

The CAG report has prominently listed the shortcomings and the failure of the Horticulture Department in allocation and fund utilisation. "The State Disaster Response Funds to the tune of Rs 21.60 crore were irregularly diverted to subsidy on pesticides provided to horticulturists. The report also makes adverse remarks on the failure of the Horticulture Department to formulate a policy with clear milestones for horticulture promotion.

About 12 per cent of the allocated funds (2014-19) was not utilised and the fruit processing units established using a subsidy of Rs 3.21 crore remained non-functional.

The CAG report also highlighted the unfruitful expenditure made on the testing of school uniform and undue favour to the laboratory. "Testing of school uniform cloth was awarded directly to a laboratory in violation of the financial rules and principles of financial propriety and economy in public procurement which resulted in an uneconomical expenditure of Rs 1.62 crore.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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