Friday, May 29, 2009

‘BADP fund misuse will not go unpunished’

Newslink, Aizawl, May 27, 2009

Bureau ReportAizawl, May 26: With grave concern over gross misappropriation ofborder area development programme fund during the past few years,Mizoram chief secretary Vanhela Pachuau today warned that such fundmisuse would be dealt with an iron hand.

“Anyone found misusing the BADP fund will not be spared from beingpunished,” Vanhela said a meeting of a state level screening committeeheld at the secretariat conference hall here today.

The chief secretary, who took charge from January this year, informedthe meeting that there had been gross misappropriation of BADP fundduring the past few years. He said there were a number of cases wherethe contractors drawn 60 percent of the fund in advance, but failed tocarry out the works in Lawngtlai and Saiha districts. He instructedthe DCs of the two districts to prepare a list of such contractors andsubmit it to him as early as possible.

“Such kind of wrongdoings will no longer be tolerated. The law willtake its own course against them,” he said.

Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was implemented in Mizoram in1993-1994 and it covered four RD blocks then along Indo-Bangladeshborder. In 1997-1998 the programme was extended on the eastern sidebordering Myanmar.

Mizoram shares an international border of 502.19 kms along theIndo-Myanmar front and 360 kms along the Indo-Bangladesh sector, thustotaling an international border of 818.19 kms. Today, BADP isimplemented in 16 RD blocks whose geographical area totals 12665.09sq.kms. Of these, 11 RD blocks are situated along the Indo-Myanmarborder and the rest five RD blocks are along the Indo-Bangladeshborder.

The meeting today approved the BADP annual action plan and perspectiveplan during the current financial year in principle. It also reviewedthe ongoing projects outside the radius of 20 kms from the border. Itagreed that no new projects be made outside the radius of 20 kms fromthe border as per the guidelines.

The Central government released Rs 22.62 crores during 2006-07, Rs20.86 crores during 2007-08 and Rs 25.35 crores during 2008-09 toMizoram under the BADP.

“Mizoram has claimed to have fully utilized all the funds it receivedduring 2006-07 in its utilization report submitted to the ministry ofhome affairs. But there is truly no semblance of development in theChakma inhabited areas along the India-Bangladesh border. Yet Mizoramsays it has spent only a fraction of BADP funds received in 2007-08,”alleged a source.

Considering that two-third of the BADP funds had been spent in theMizoram-Myanmar borders, one-third i.e. Rs 7.54 crores during 2006-07,Rs 6.95 crores during 2007-08 and Rs 8.41 crores during 2008-09 musthave been spent for the development of the Mizoram-Bangladesh borderswhich is predominantly inhabited by the Chakma minority tribals.

“This money, if spent judiciously, is enough for socio-economicdevelopment of the border Chakmas but the Mizoram government’sspending under BADP in the sajek areas is almost nil,” said a Chakma social activist.

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