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CAG Kumbh Report: Discrepancies in UP Govt's Expenditure, Poor Waste Management

The Aam Aadmi Party lambasted the UP government over alleged corruption in hosting the event.

Published
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) underlined the inadequacies, including the faults in the utilisation of funds and poor waste management in the Uttar Pradesh government's organisation of 2019 Kumbh.</p></div>
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In its second report of 2021, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) underlined the inadequacies, including the faults in the utilisation of funds and poor waste management in the Uttar Pradesh government's organisation of 2019 Kumbh in Prayagraj.

As per a report by The Indian Express, a spokesperson for the UP government said that the concerned departments would look into the matters listed in the report and respond accordingly.

On Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party lambasted the UP government over alleged corruption in hosting the event, saying that there were "huge irregularities" in the expenditure of Rs 27,000 crore allocated for the Kumbh.
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"Be it the Ram temple in Ayodhya or the Kumbh in Prayagraj, the BJP is not letting go of any chance to indulge in corruption. I want to ask Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the BJP to at least spare religion," AAP MP and Uttar Pradesh incharge Sanjay Singh said in a video statement.

He added in Hindi, "To give you an example: according to the audit, 32 tractors were brought by the UP government. However, the numbers registered actually belong to mopeds and scooters."

Poor Waste Management

The report on general and social sector, which was tabled in the Assembly on Thursday, noted that the the issue of municipal solid waste (MSW) management was not effectively addressed, as the waste processing plant was not operative ahead of the event.

It stated:

"Due to inoperative MSW processing plant, there was a massive scrapheap of MSW weighing 3,61,136 MT at Banswar plant site before Kumbh Mela, which was further piled up during January 2019 to March 2019 by additional collection of 52,727 MT MSW."
CAG report

This posed a 'serious health hazard', The Indian Express reported.

The report also noted that improper management of MWS "causes environmental pollution and is a source of infection and therefore, management of solid waste generated during Kumbh Mela was of utmost importance."

As per the news report, the government of UP replied that the scrapheap of waste was 16 km away from the site of the event and was not in the Banswar plant, arguing that it did not pose as a health hazard.

'Items Procured Were Not Utilised'

The CAG report also added that the state administration did not employ drone cameras it had procured for a cost of Rs 7.83 crore for the purpose of crowd management effectively.

"Further, due to inefficient procurement process by the Home (Police) Department, fire vehicles, baggage scanners, tyre killer, digital radio HF sets and drone cameras (cost: 7.83 crore) procured for the Kumbh Mela were either not received or not utilised during Kumbh Mela."

To this, the UP government responded that it had procured three large and 10 small drones, however, the images captured by the smaller-sized drone cameras were not of sufficient quality.

The CAG observed in this regard, “The (UP government’s) reply was not tenable, as the replacement of the drone cameras did not take place during Kumbh Mela period," The Indian Express reported.

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'Holistic Picture of Kumbh Funds Not Ascertained'

The report also highlighted that the funds used by the UP administration showed several irregularities, and noted that "in violation of Government of India guidelines for utilising State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for providing immediate relief to the victims of notified disasters, the State Government diverted 65.87 crore from SDRF for procurement of rescue equipment for Kumbh Mela which should have been met from budget provision of the State Government."

As per the report, the Urban Development Department (UDD) had sanctioned Rs 2,744 crore to Kumbh Mela Adhikari (KMA), the Chief Executive Officer of PMA, against which Rs 2,112 crore was spent as of July 2019.

However, the KMA did not report the allotment and expenditure of funds by other departments, and therefore, "the holistic picture of the funds released and expenditure incurred for Kumbh Mela works was not ascertainable," the report stated.

Addressing the administration, the CAG recommended Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for procurement of goods and materials, as prescribed in present administrative frameworks and suggested the formation of regulations. It also added that funds should be released from a single budget head in order to keep a record of the sanctions and expenditure against the same, The Indian Express reported.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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