CAG pulls up AAI for keeping equipment idle

Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
The comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) has castigated the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for purchasing eight instrument landing systems (ILS) in 2002-03 but not installing them till July 2004, causing a loss of interest of over Rs 1 crore.

Eight sets of the ILS, costing Rs 11.86 crore and received between January 2002 and February 2003, remained without installation/commissioning till July 2004 due to delay in acquisition of land, clearance of obstructions, extension of runway and other reasons, the CAG report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday said.

Observing that the reply given by AAI management was not tenable as these problems were required to be sorted out before the procurement, the CAG said the delay of 17 to 30 months as of July 2004 is a clear indication of lack of proper planning and non-synchronisation of activities by the authority.

It said the delay in planned upgradation of airports also deprived airports of the crucial navigational aid.

It is evident that the authority did not plan in a co-ordinated manner and placed orders for supply of equipment without preparing ground facilities, it said.

Had the aforesaid funds been invested as surplus funds, the authority could have earned interest income of Rs 1.02 crore till the end of July 2004, the CAG said.

Reservation: To provide more job opportunities to the youth in border states and militancy-affected areas, the recruitment scheme of constables in central police forces has been revised, Mr Jaiswal said.

The revised scheme envisages allocation of 20% of vacancies in the border guarding forces to districts under their charge and 20% of the vacancies to Jammu & Kashmir, the North-eastern states and militancy-affected districts in other states, he said.

DDAs removal of 51 jhuggi clusters: The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has reported removal of 51 jhuggi clusters and relocation of 18751 slum dwellers during the last three years for which an expenditure of approximately Rs 82.50 crore was incurred.

Minister for parliamentary affairs and urban development Ghulam Nabi Azad said the draft Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 prepared by the DDA envisaged amelioration of existing slum and jhuggi clusters through a judicious mix of relocation and in situ development.

As the MPD-2021 is at draft stage, no estimate of expenditure or land allotment has been prepared so far, he said.

Mr Azad said the Hudco has earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for lending related to construction and rehabilitation works in the tsunami-affected areas.

Hudco already contributed Rs 1 crore to the prime ministers relief fund and has also earmarked additional Rs 1 crore for construction of relief shelters with disaster resistant technologies, he informed the House.

Tea productivity: Old age of tea plantations is one of the reasons for near stagnation in the productivity of tea.

Commerce minister Kamal Nath said nearly 38% of existing tea bushes have crossed the economic threshold age of 50 years and another 9% are in the age group of 40 to 50 years.

To address this problem and raise the national productivity of tea, it is proposed to take up a massive replantation programme covering an area of 2.12 lakh hectares over the next 15 years, he said.

India, Bhutan trade pact: India and Bhutan will begin discussions on a new agreement on trade and commerce shortly.

Minister of state for commerce and industry EVKS Elangovan said the agreement on trade and commerce signed in 1995 has been renewed on March 2, 2005 pending finalisation of the new agreement.

This agreement lays down the basic framework governing trade and transit between India and Bhutan.

He said the government with the help of National Council for Applied Economic Research and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Economic Law Practice is in the process of formulating a draft export promotion scheme that will be considered in replacement of Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme.