The Comptroller and Auditor General has indicted the Andaman and Nicobar administration for lagging behind the original scheme targets of coastal security despite adequate funds.
The CAG report, tabled in Parliament recently, has raised concerns as majority of the projects are far behind schedule and less than half of the allocated funds have been used so far. The apex auditing body has reviewed the implementation of the coastal security scheme in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and found that only one out of ten planned Marine Operational Centers had been established even after seven years since commencement of the scheme.
Under the CSS II scheme, ten Marine Operational Centers (MOCs) were to be set up as nerve centers to undertake patrolling, raids and surveillance in remote or scattered islands.In November 2010, MHA suggested the completion of all preparatory works for the MOCs by 31 March 2011. However, the Department formed joint survey teams only in May 2011 after being prompted by MHA to initiate processing of statutory clearances for identification of sites and preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs). The CAG noted that only one out of the ten planned MOCs could be set up and operationalised in Kadamtala.
The status of remaining nine MOCs, the four are currently at the tendering stage, had to suffer delays due to change in site, inadequate preparatory work and non-intimation of availability of funds. In three cases, clearances and allotment of land were awaited and administrative approval and expenditure sanction and revised estimates were awaited in one case each.
The Department attributed the delays to involvement of various stakeholders in the process of obtaining clearances. The CAG also observed that explanations given by the concerned authorities were not tenable. 'The Empowered Committee with members drawn from all key departments such as Finance, Revenue, Public Works Department (PWD) and Forests that could have facilitated early clearances had also never met since its constitution though it was required to meet at least once every quarter. As a result, funds allotted by the Ministry have remained un-utilised and assets critical for coastal security are yet to materialise,' the CAG said in report.
The Home Ministry had sanctioned Rs 302 crore for purchase of 10 large vessels and 23 rigid inflatable boats (RIB) in November 2010. These vessels were required for surveillance along the coastline and were to be stationed at 10 strategic locations where Marine Operational Centres (MOCs) were to be set up. The Ministry floated limited tender inquiries in June 2016 for procurement of the large vessels and RIBs more than five years after approval of the scheme and finalised tenders for these vessels in December 2017.
'Thus, a critical component of Coastal Security Scheme (CSS)-II has been delayed for more than six years after approval and the objective of strengthening vigilance at strategic locations through regular patrolling has yet to be achieved," the report added. Funds for addition, alteration, up gradation of 20 Coastal Police Stations (CPSs) were sanctioned under the scheme. The top auditing agency has noted that estimates for only 12 CPSs had been received between May 2016 and September 2016 and estimates for the remaining eight CPSs were under preparation by Andaman Public Works Department as of November 2017.
The CAG has observed that 20 CPSs was an independent component of the scheme for which funds had been made available much in advance. Further, there was also deviation from procurement rules and guidelines in procurement of boats costing Rs 54.32 lakh.