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The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered CAG audit of three industrial development authorities--Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway-- which are facing allegations of irregularities and corruption. The controversy over allowing CAG access to these authorities had erupted during the UP Assembly election campaign when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had alleged large- scale corruption in the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA). The state government recently gave a nod to the audit of the GDA by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The erstwhile Samajwadi Party government had denied permission to the CAG to audit the GDA, despite Governor Ram Naik's intervention in the issue. However, after a change in regime, the Yogi Adityanath government ordered CAG auditing for Ghaziabad Development Authority. In the latest decision, the state government has ordered CAG auditing for Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway industrial development authorities, UP Industrial Development Department Principal Secretary Alok Sinha said. The Noida Authority had earlier opposed CAG auditing, saying it is an autonomous body. Official sources said Sinha wrote to the accountant general (economic and revenue sector audit) CAG on July 11 in this regard. Apart from carrying out checks on procedures, utilisation of funds and progress of projects, the CAG audit may also scrutinise the terms of contracts, agencies and contractors to whom the projects have been awarded, they said. Allegations have been levelled by social activists and homebuyers that the three authorities had made large-scale land allotments to builders and other allottees at throwaway prices in the past 10 years. Noida, Greater Noida, Yamuna Expressway Authority and the UPSIDC have been facing charges of corruption in the past, but the previous SP government had disallowed the CAG from carrying out audits of both industrial development authorities and development authorities in general. The CAG had earlier approached the SP government for audit of development authorities, but the officials concerned said the CAG did not have any right to conduct inquiries in the autonomous bodies. Industrial Development Minister Satish Mahana, however, said that to highlight corruption in the previous government in UP it is necessary that the CAG should audit all the development authorities.
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