Low spending during last five years was due to delays in preparing annual action plan.
Mumbai: A day after Public Accounts Committee rapped the home department over unspent funds, a fresh report by Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on has slammed the state government over poor implementation of ‘Modernisation of Police Force in Maharashtra’ during last five years. Terming it as ‘far from satisfactory’ implementation of the Modernisation of Police Force, the report pointed out that the state could spend only 38 per cent of the total funds released under the scheme.
“The low spending during last five years was mainly due to delays in preparation and submission of Annual Action Plan (AAP) to the central government, causing consequent delays in approval of plans and release of funds,” the report on general and social sector said.
It has also questioned many components, which were meant for modernisation of the force. There was a shortfall of 1564 vehicles for the force. “During 2011-16, only 8 per cent of the planned residential and non-residential buildings, which also include police station, could be constructed or upgraded. The digital radio trunking system procured at a cost of Rs 9.56 crore was not commissioned despite delay of 39 months thereby defeating the objective of upgrading the police communication network from the old analog system to the new encrypted digital system,” it said.
Worse still, the report has also pointed out that there was a shortage of 65,026 modern weapons constituting 45 per cent of the total requirement of the state. Vital police equipment valuing Rs 28.76 crore such as, bullet-proof jackets, night vision binoculars, bomb disposal suits, protable x-ray machines planned for procurement under the AAPs of 2011-16 (excluding 2014-15) hand not been procured as of September 2016, the CAG said.
Even the technical staff was not recruited and that affected the functioning of forensic science laboratories leading to the pending investigation of 34,171 samples (18 per cent) on January 1, 2017. The report has also pointed out that forensic equipment procured at a cost of Rs 98.91 lakh remained dysfunctional since its installation in August 2011 as it showed erratic results and the equipment was eventually not found suitable for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances analysis.
Sachin Sawant said that “The coastal security has been a problem for a long time and the state has not taken adequate measures for the coastal security after 26/11 terror attacks. We have been demanding that the state home department should have a separate minister but it has not been fulfilled yet,” Sawant said targeting the CM who heads the home department.
FUNDS FOR PROCUREMENT?
This is not the first time that the CAG has pointed out laxity in implementing modernisation of police force scheme in Maharashtra. In fact, the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, which examined the previous CAG report on the same scheme, has also come down heavily on the state. It has rapped the state home department for not purchasing arms and vehicles within stipulated time after 26/11 terror attacks. The Centre approved procurement in February 2013, however, the funds remained unspent, the PAC observed. It has also said the procurement of police vehicles and arms is a sensitive issue.
LACK OF MODERNISATION
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has been supplementing the efforts and resources of the states by implementing the Scheme for Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF Scheme) since 1969-70. The scheme was launched because it was found that the states were not able to fully modernise and equip their police forces up to the desired level due to financial constraints. The objective of the scheme is to gradually reduce the dependence of the State Governments on the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces to control internal security and law and order situation.