Shillong, Oct 09, 2018:
The Public Accounts Committee of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Tuesday directed the state Forest and Environment Department and the health and Family Welfare Department to clarify on the irregularities and wasteful expenditure that has cost the state exchequer a large sum of money.
The two departments were asked to review, take appropriate action and submit its report to the committee at the earliest.
Referring to the CAG report, PAC Chairman, Charles Pyngrope pulled up the Health department for several “irregularities” like procurement of an arthoscope for orthopedic surgeons for 21,32 lakhs in 2013, which is however, lying unused for the past fifteen years.
Elaborating more on the failure of the Health and Family Welfare Department and the wasteful expenditure that had occurred, member of PAC Hima Shangpliang said that this arthosscope equipment is for the treatment of joints, bones and ligaments which was procured and has been lying idle in the Shillong Civil Hospital for the last fifteen years without utility.
Informing that the machine has become out of order and the particular firm from where the machine was procured from has also ceased its operations, Shangpliang said that this is heights of irregularities as the machine costed the state 20 lakh with no man power to run the machine causing it to become dysfunctional. He further added that when PAC was trying to locate the manufacturer or the company for repairs, it was found out that company no longer exists.
“The PAC has given a strong directive to the health department that they should get the machine rectified or repaired and that report back to the committee at the earliest,” he added.
Furthermore, PAC found out that the health department has no bio-medical engineer and the arthoscope machine was required to be kept in the three trauma centres — Shillong, Nongpoh and Tura Civil Hospitals.
Meanwhile, PAC also came down heavily on the “laxity” of the Forest department which has costed a revenue loss of over a hundred crores to the state.
Umroi MLA and member of PAC, George Lyngdoh highlighted the irregularities in the forest and environment department stating that it is a major concern to learn that many illegal saw mills are still operating in the state which only goes on to show that the supreme court order which was given out in 1997-98 has not been adhered.
He, however, said that currently the department and government is working on a comprehensive plan to ensure that the illegal saw mills are brought under the purview of supreme court ruling.
On the illegal mining of sand, boulders and limestone in the state, Lyngdoh said that huge loss of revenue is being incurred due to the laxity of the department to monitor the illegal mining.
Adding to it, Shangpliang said there were also instances where cases of illegal mining were detected but no follow up action was taken.
“The Department of forest and environment need to strengthen their laws,” added the chairman of the PAC, Charles Pyngrope.