The PAC recommended that the state Tourism department should have proper plans and long term vision.
The PAC, under its chairman Vanlalhlana, member of the opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), in its report presented in the state legislature recently says, “The Committee recommends that the department should have a more pro-active approach in maintenance and operations of their existing infrastructure with proper plans and long-term vision.”
“The Committee strongly recommends that care and proper calculations be made in implementation of Centrally Funded or Centrally Sponsored Schemes in the future to avoid technical delays in constructions and implementation of projects as this leads to huge cost overrun which necessitates unnecessary expenditure of state budget.”
According to the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Ministry of Tourism in October 2007 accorded administrative approval and financial sanction of Rs 10 crore for setting up of State Institute of Hotel Management (SIHM) at Bung Bangle near Aizawl.
The Ministry released Rs 8 crore during 2007 to 2011 to the Mizoram Tourism department for the purpose.
The fund was transferred to the state Public Works Department (PWD) and the work was completed in September 2013 which included Administrative and Academic Block, Boys Hostel Block and Girls Hostel Block apart from development of the courtyard.
The state PWD handed over the assets to the Tourism Department in May, 2015, while the assets remained unoccupied and non-functional for more than 7 years.
In 2013, the Tourism Department proposed creation of 22 posts comprising the Principal, teaching and non-teaching faculty for managing the SIHM. However, the state Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DP and AR) reduced the number of posts to 19.
In August 2019, the state government approved 32 posts for operationalising SIHM. But the department did not take any initiative for release of the balance amount of Rs 2 crore earmarked for procurement of equipment from the Union Ministry while the state government also did not take steps to furnish and equip the proposed institution.
Due to non-appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff as well as non-setting up of the required equipment, expenditure incurred to the tune of Rs 8 crore remained idle. Due to non-operation of the institute, the benefits envisaged from the scheme could not be availed by the intended beneficiaries.
The PAC chairman and members who conducted joint inspection of the SIHM found that the buildings were in dilapidated conditions despite the fact that the 3-storied 20 double-bedded rooms of Girls Hostel Block has been occupied by Shivalaya Construction Company Pvt. Limited at the rate of Rs 50,000 per month since 2019.
Though the state PWD prepared an estimate of over Rs 2.01 crore for renovation of the untenanted institution, the state government regretted the proposal due to fund constraint.
The PAC was informed by the department that it had taken initiative to outsource the existing structures to the Trade Promotion Council of India following a study that they had with how outsourcing of the SIHM was taken up in Nagaland.