Crores of rupees spent by Darjeeling hill body without audit: Dhankhar

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Kolkata, Jul 5 (PTI) West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday said that nothing can be more worrisome than reports that crores of rupees have been spent by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous body that looks after the development of Darjeeling hills, sans any audit in past.

Dhankhar, who had said on June 28 that he will ensure a special audit of the accounts of the GTA as he received several complaints in this regard, was on Monday briefed by the state's principal accountant general regarding the audit issue.

In a Tweet, the governor expressed concern that GTA accounts are in arrears for the last seven years (2014-21) and even audit for 2013-14 is 'incomplete'.

'Nothing can be more worrisome and disturbing aspect that crores have been spent with just no audit since GTA @MamataOfficial came into being,' Dhankhar tweeted, tagging West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

'All reports that GTA is den of corruption and all aspects call for exemplary probe investigation so as to promote accountability,' he said in the Twitter post.

The ruling Trinamool Congress had said that Dhankhar was unnecessarily creating controversy and interfering in the GTA matter.

'The governor could have asked the minister of hill affairs for any update about GTA fund usage though it is outside the purview of his constitutional power. His only agenda is to criticise the state,' TMC leader and Education Minister Bratya Basu said.

As per the Gorkhaland Territorial Act of 2011, the GTA was established for the region comprising Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong subdivisions and some mouzas of Siliguri subdivision in Darjeeling district.

The GTA Sabha was constituted on August 2, 2012, with 45 elected members and five members nominated by the governor.

The Hill Affairs Branch of the state government's Home and Hill Affairs Department is the nodal branch to look after the matters of the GTA. PTI SUS NN NN

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