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CAG report questions fire control measures

By Our Staff Reporter

PONDICHERRY, JULY 15. The absence of a Fire Force Act and an inadequate fire force were to blame for the inability to minimise loss of property due to fires in Pondicherry, says the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year ended March 31, 2003. The Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy, placed the report before the Assembly on Wednesday.

It also pointed out that preventive measures were not given enough importance. "The safety standards and the efficiency in control of fires envisaged in the recommendations of Standing Fire Advisory Committee were not achieved.''

The report said that recognition of schools and release of grants- in- aid were not made in consonance with the provisions of Pondicherry School Education Act 1987 and the Rules framed under it. Pensions to retired school staff were also being paid directly by the Department in contravention of the rules, which provide for payment of grants in aid to the schools for the purpose.

The report also said the Pondicherry Planning Authority had failed to prepare a development plan for the rural areas of Pondicherry resulting in non-collection of development charges of Rs 2.33 crores.

Unfruitful expenditure

The Police department spent Rs 43.46 lakhs towards construction of a Fast Patrol Vessel. The vessel did not meet the required specification and the expenditure was thus unfruitful, the report said.

A review of the functioning of the Departments of Social Welfare and Women and Child Development revealed that the basic objectives of welfare schemes to uplift the poor were not given adequate importance.

Despite the Government of India's instructions, balwadi centres were not closed and the balasevikas not absorbed in government departments. Consequently recruitment of 248 clerks resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 3.34 crores during 2000-2003.

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