A Parliamentary panel has rapped the Ministry of External Affairs over the allocation of funds for the rail project linking Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh, noting that out of a total approved cost of Rs 392.50 crore, the released fund was only Rs 85.52 crore.
The Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs observed that the budgetary allocation under aid to Bangladesh for the year 2018-19 was Rs 175 crore, an increase in comparison to the budgetary allocation of Rs 125.00 crore in Budget Estimate 2017-18.
However, at the Revised Estimate stage of 2018-19, the allocation was reduced to Rs 120.00 crore.
However, the expenditure till September 30, 2018 was Rs 52.79 crore only, it said in a report.
The lower allocation at Revised Estimate stage and slow pace of expenditure during the year 2018-19 was attributable to the local and other factors like heavy rains, etc.
The Ministry has informed that an enhanced allocation of Rs 175 crore has been provisioned to cater to expenditure anticipated towards ongoing development projects such as the Akhaura-Agartala rail link project, India Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline and dredging of fairway on inland waterway protocol routes apart from training of Bangladesh personnel, scholarships, and small development projects, etc.
While looking at status of utilisation of fund up to September 31, 2019, the Committee is pained to note that for Akhaura-Agartala rail link project, out of total approved cost of Rs 392.50 crore the released fund is only 85.52 crore, the panel said.
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