Millions of rupees, which were to be utilised in various development-related projects, are sitting idle in the coffers of the administration in Dehradun. A sum of around Rs 500 crore rupees, which was to be released in the months of April and May under the district development plan, is still not utilised, thereby affecting the scale of development in the area. This money was chiefly meant for developing roads and establishing more health facilities.
Just like the state-level development plans, district-level plans are available for developing the districts. This year, a budget of Rs 700 crore was approved for all the districts of Uttarakhand. Of it, Rs 500 crore was released in the first installment at the start of the financial year. The budget was meant to be used for roads, water, electricity, bridges, pedestrian paths etc. in villages. However, most of the villages are lagging behind in all these departments with little to no development work done.
In districts like Bageshwar, Almora and Haridwar, no money was dispatched to any department in the last two months. Development work in Chamoli, Pauri, and Udham Singh Nagar was severely hit with only 3%, 5% and 8% of the total amount being released to the departments in Pauri, Chamoli and Udham Singh Nagar respectively. But on the brighter side, places such as Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Uttarkashi and Champawat districts performed much better.
The minister-in-charge of Pauri, Bishan Singh, denies all the charges. “I had approved of the plans long back, but it’s not clear why the money could not be delivered to the departments on time,” said Singh.
According to reports, every year, the district planning committees created under the leadership of the minister concerned, select and set into motion the development plans for the district. But, this time due to the Covid-19 situation, the district planning committees were not formed. Therefore, the district magistrates and the minister were to select the schemes and release funds accordingly. However, they were unable to make the visit owing to the pandemic. Hence, neither were the schemes selected, nor were funds released.