THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | VOL 35 | ISSUE 15 | 7 OCT 2011
AE's Quarter Renovation:
To provide appropriate services of technical manpower to PRIs, the Directorate of Panchayat took the wise and bold decision to free the technical wing from the clutches of Zilla Parishad, and the whole setup was rearranged to avoid inordinate delays in execution of developmental works. But, with it cropped its share of problems too. The technical wing was shifted to Directorate building. However, the AE, who had already seen the sheen and grandeur of the earlier head of the technical wing, could not lag behind and shifted to one of the Councillor's quarter (General Pool).
As usual, it required to be renovated and refurbished. But, who will foot the bill? The onus fell on four or five panchayats of Ferrar Gunj Tehsil. Flouting all regulations, which is imposed on the PRIs every now and then, an order was issued by the Executive Engineer to the Asst Engineer to approve technical clearance and a few panchayats in Ferrar Gunj Tehsil were asked to prepare work orders and fund diverted to renovate the quarter, which however belong to the general pool and is located in Junglighat, far away from their jurisdiction.
Most of the Panchayats sensing foul-play did not heed to the order. It is learnt that an amount of Rs 8.2 lakhs were diverted from a couple of Panchayats.
When asked about the issue, A Neduncheziyan, Director, Rural Development said he is not aware of the incident and assured that he will look into the matter. However, Guruswamy, AE, Dir of Panchayat said that as per CPWD manual, there is provision upto 5% for contingency expenditure, which he said includes office stationery, vehicles and for watch and ward. Its astonishing to find that how can a residential quarter be charged under work.
As per the Panchayat Rules and Regulations, work orders from Panchayat can only be executed in their jurisdiction after due concurrence of Gram Sabha. The Pradhans, who won't mind bending the rules a bit to appease their bosses never thought that this act, which goes against the regulation might boomerang, if someone seeks information through RTI and files a complaint.
The Directorate officials however tried to convince saying that they were suddenly caught in a precarious situation soon after the formation of a separate technical wing, they had to find residential quarter for the AE and it was an internal adjustment.
Neduncheziyan said that to run the department with additional staff also requires infrastructure as well as expenses to be covered. "We cannot keep going to the 69 Panchayats and ask for contingency fund to meet our stationery requirement, vehicles and other expenses. We have now approached the administration and the Lieutenant Governor has approved the provision of its own fund," he added.
Nonetheless, it does not exonerate the renovation of the Assistant Engineer's quarter located in Junglighat from funds diverted as work orders issued by Panchayats from Guptapara to Shoal Bay.