LAHDC of Leh & Kargil failed to submit accounts for audit since their inception: CAG

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Jammu, Mar 27 (PTI) The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDCs) for Leh and Kargil districts have failed to submit accounts for audit since their inception, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said, terming it a “serious financial irregularity”.

The audit reports of eight other autonomous bodies in Jammu and Kashmir, including both wings of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (Kashmir and Jammu) (SKUAST), J&K state housing board and state legal service authority are also pending for many years, the CAG said.

The CAG, in its report on social, general and economic (non-PSUs) in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir for the year ending 31 March, 2019, submitted in the parliament recently, said 10 autonomous bodies, including LAHDC, Leh and LAHDC Kargil required to be audited had not furnished the annual accounts.

Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh in August 2019.

“The LAHDC, Leh has failed to submit accounts for audit since its inception (1995-96) although substantial funds are being released to the Council and unspent balances at the end of the year remain credited in a non-lapsable fund in the Public Account of the State,” the CAG said.

“The position in respect of LAHDC, Kargil which came into existence in the year 2004-05 is similar and the accounts are in arrears since its inception. Non-submission/delay in submission of accounts by these bodies receiving substantial funding from the State budget is a serious financial irregularity persisting for years,” it said.

It said the LAHDC received a grant of Rs 546.24 crore in 2018-19, while the LAHDC Kargil got Rs 597.95 crore during the same financial year.

“In view of this non-compliance, the audited accounts of these statutory bodies have not so far been presented to the State Legislature as required under the Statutes under which these bodies were created. This has deprived the State Legislature of the opportunity to assess their activities and financial performance,” the report said.

The Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (J&K), which had not received any grants in 2018-19, had failed to submit its accounts for audit for the last 10 years.

The accounts for audit of SKUAST (Kashmir) is pending for nine years though it received a grant of Rs 228.60 crore in 2018-19 and similarly, the SKUAST (Jammu) which had got a grant of Rs 101 crore in 2018-19, has failed to submit its account for three years, the report said.

The CAG said the State Legal Service Authority received a grant of Rs 12.48 crore in 2018-19, but failed to submit its accounts for audit, while Khadi and Village Industries Board got Rs 23 crore grants in 2018-19 and its account details are pending for four years.

Other bodies which have not submitted their accounts for audit include Jammu and Kashmir State Housing Board (seven years), Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board (six years) and Employees Provident Fund Board, Srinagar (four years), the report said, adding that none of these have received any grants during 2018-19.

PTI TAS SRY