Maharashtra government is contemplating to set up a special division of Public Works Department to look after building and maintenance of schools and hostels under the Tribal Development Department.
State Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savara said that his department gives around Rs. 500 crore to the PWD every year for constructing and maintaining buildings of schools and hostels run by the government.
“We feel that if we have a direct control over works, it would save both time and money,” Savara said, adding the proposal is in the final stage and is likely to come up before the Cabinet sometime later this month.
According to the proposal, the new division would have at least one chief engineer, two superintending engineers, four executive engineers and other staff, and would look after the work in four administrative divisions.
Till now every department, including the PWD, asked the Tribal Development Department to transfer funds for implementation of schemes in tribal areas. “In the previous Congress-NCP government, funds of the Tribal Development Department were transferred to other departments which were utilised for non-tribal schemes and in non-tribal areas. However, I have stopped this practise,” Savara said.
“There was an allocation of Rs. 5,100 crore in the budget for my department. Almost all major schemes get 100 per cent allocations. However, some of schemes get 70 per cent fund against the actual budgetary provision,” he said.
Most of the funds are utilised by the PWD in construction of ‘Ashram Shalas’ (schools) and hostels for boys and girls from the tribal community. “We do not have control over them and we do not have the option but to accept the statement PWD furnishes on the expenses,” Savra said, adding that a Tribal Public Works Corporation will now be set up to control the expenses.