The Bihar government has sought utilization certificates (UCs) from 1,740 former and present mukhiyas for funds that were given to them for the installation of tubewells to raise agriculture production in their areas, an official said on Sunday.
If they fail to provide these certificates within a month, police cases will be lodged against them, he said.
”The district development commissioners (DDCs) have been asked to send notices to 1,740 former and sitting mukhiyas, directing them to submit UCs pertaining to the installation of tubewells in their areas. If they fail to submit their UCs within a month, FIRs will be lodged against them,” said Parmar Ravi Manubhai, the additional chief secretary of the Minor Water Resources Department.
These panchayat functionaries, mostly former, have not submitted UCs of the funds they received under the ‘State Tubewell Scheme’ for several years, said Manubhai.
The pendency of UCs is fraught with the risk of misappropriation of funds and fraudulence, he added.
”The direction was issued last month. The department has already initiated the process of lodging FIRs against several former and sitting mukhiyas of Lakhisarai and Sheikhpura districts as they failed to submit UCs under the stipulated period of time,” he said.
”It’s an ambitious scheme of the state government as providing irrigation to farmers is the top priority. The UCs are a must for analyzing the outcome of the project,” he said. Manubhai, however, refused to divulge the total amount for which UCs are pending.
Under the tubewell scheme, the state government provides funds for electric motor pumps or diesel pump sets and a consolidated fund for boring pipes.
”The minimum estimated cost of installation of a standard tubewell is Rs 1.5 lakh. It varies from area to area. This scheme was introduced by the state government to increase the income of farmers, who face constant drought. Under the scheme, funds are released to mukhiyas as per the requirement,” Manubhai said.
As per official data, districts, where maximum UCs are pending, are East Champaran (214), Darbhanga (145), Muzaffarpur (76), and Vaishali (96).
A total number of tubewells sanctioned under the scheme in the state is 10,240. Only 3,819 tubewells are functional, data revealed.