Staff Reporter

Legal group says State failed to spend a sum of Rs.24.81 crore

KANNUR: The People’s Council for Civil Rights (PCCR) has alleged that the State Government has not properly utilised funds allotted by the Centre as financial assistance for natural calamity relief.

The PCCR, a Thalassery-based legal literacy group, stated here on Wednesday that the State failed to spend Rs.24.81 crore out of the total funds allotted during 2006-07.

The PCCR secured the information from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs by invoking the Right to Information Act (RTI). It urged the State Government to order a probe into the ‘bureaucratic lethargy’ involved.

Disclosing the information received from the Ministry, PCCR president T. Asafali said as per the utilisation report filed by the State Government, the opening balance in the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) account of the State was Rs.24.81 crore as on April 1 this year. That much amount remained unutilised despite huge losses caused by natural calamities last year, he added.

The financial assistance for calamity relief was given to States under the CRF and the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF), he said. As per the information furnished by the Union Home Ministry, during 2006-07, Rs.89.77 crore was allocated to the State in the CRF account. Of this, Rs.67.33 crore came as Central contribution and Rs.22.44 crore as State contribution. The Central share of the CRF was released in two instalments of Rs.33.66 crore each on June 2 and December 19, 2006.

During 2007-08, Rs.94.26 crore was allotted to the State in the CRF account, Mr. Asafali said adding that the amount included Rs.70.70 crore as Central share and Rs.23.56 crore as State contribution. Two instalments of the Central share were released on June 26 and July 18 this year. He said that the information was contrary to the State Government’s complaint that the Central Government was not releasing adequate funds for natural calamity relief. During 2006-07, no fund was released from the NCCF to the State, while during the current financial year, Rs.50 crore was released on an ‘on account’ basis from the NCCF on August 7 last which would be adjusted against the utilisation of the fund by the State Government to undertake necessary relief operations.