Audit Reveals Financial Irregularities in ANERT
KOZHIKODE: The Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), which aims at promoting renewable sources of energy and energy conservation in Kerala, appears to be in dire need of a massive overhaul. For, a special audit report of the Local Fund Audit Department (LFAD) has not only found huge financial irregularities but opined that the agency had failed to serve its purpose despite 25 years since its inception.
The audit has found that financial irregularities and diversion of funds transferred by the Local Self Government Departments for the implementation of the Total Energy Security Mission (TESM) launched in the state during 2007-2011.
The report says that ANERT has to pay a whopping `44.27 crore back to the LSGDs as the agency had entered into an agreement with the local bodies empowering the latter to recover the fund with interest in case of failure in implementation of the projects as part of the TESM. As per the agreements with the 466 local bodies, ANERT should have completed the works under TESM by June 30, 2009. To put things into perspective, TESM was included in the 11th Five Year Plan as the Planning Board’s flagship project during 2007-11, and was stopped in June 2012. However, Finance Department had launched an enquiry into the project after noticing financial irregularities. The LFAD was asked to conduct a special audit of TESM project from 2007-08 to 2011-12 fiscal based on that enquiry report. The report has recommended further inquiry into the project implementation as the audit found irregularities in utilisation of fund including diversion of `24.22 crore and lack of documents for expenses worth `12.67 crore.
In its 197-pages-long report, the audit team has also raised objection in purchase of solar equipment worth `1.72 crore, distribution of million CFLs worth `72.10 lakh, expenses of state level coordination committee (SLCC) worth `60.78 lakh, advertisements to the tune of `1.02 crore, Integrated Energy Plan Preparation (IEPP) costing `35.73 crore, development of knowledge support system worth `2.23 crore and data entry works for total electrification spending `19 lakh.
‘’Though 25 years passed since its inception, ANERT is manufacturing not even a single product related to non-conventional energy schemes. It has shrunk to an agency that acts only as a middlemen that purchases products from other companies. “Even then, ANERT could not buy and distribute solar products that were demanded by LSGDs,’’ the report said.