Public events a glorious misuse of funds

Public events a glorious misuse of funds

Interestingly, even the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) which should be spending its money on medicines and medical care of the unreached ran a total bill of Rs 22.53 lakh of which only 4.46 lakh has been paid and the outstanding amount is Rs 18.06 lakh.

The DIPR ran a total bill of 71.24 lakh till date of which room rent amounting to 50.30 lakh was incurred in March 2014. The DIPR paid Rs 42.28 lakh and now owes the Hotel Rs 25.95 lakh. By all accounts, DIPR seems to have incurred the highest amount which could be attributed to hosting dignitaries from the Film Industry, etc., for the Film Festivals organized here. Whether the Festival really has any impact on young film makers is of course debatable!

It may be reminded that the Indian Panorama Film Festival held from March 3-6, 2014 was organized in collaboration with the Meghalaya Department of Information and Public Relations, the Government of India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, International Film Festival India, and the Directorate of Film Festivals.

As per the RTI findings, the exact amount sanctioned for the Indian Panorama Film Fest 2014 was Rs 87,07,890 and Rs 76,39,384 was sanctioned at the first stage and the same was received on March 31, 2014 while the balance of Rs 10,68,706 was processed in the financial year 2014-2015.

It may be mentioned that a lot of money was spent on information and publicity, advertising and visual publicity, publicity through cinematography and exhibition besides others.

RTI findings further revealed that the exact expenses paid for holding this festival was Rs 87,07,890—Rs 3,55,985 for rooms in Hotel Pine Wood, Rs 3,37,080 for State Convention Centre, Rs 16,43, 893 for the food meant for the guests in Hotel Pine Wood, Rs 24,09,104 for lunch and dinner in Hotel Pine Wood. Rs 1,44,216 for Blue Berry Inn-food and lodging, Rs 7,94,716 for flight fares and Rs 27,29,774 for Event Manager Logistic Budget.

Two hotels, Pine Wood Hotel and Blue Inn Hotels were booked by the government during this festival. 28 rooms were booked in Hotel Pine Wood for 23 guests who were referred by the organisers to stay for 6 days and the total amount billed to DIPR was Rs 50,39,184. Cost for the food amounted to Rs 16,43,893.

Four rooms were booked at the Blue Inn Hotel for four guests to stay for six days and the total amount billed to the DIPR was Rs 1,44,216 and the cost of food for guest was Rs 1,181.

As many as 30 guests visited the city during this festival and 27 of them were placed in these two hotels. The total flights fares paid for 19 out of 30 guests amounted to Rs 7,94,716 while airport transfers and local transport was handled by the event manager.

The guests were mostly from New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati and Chennai. According to DIPR, none of the guests were paid for their presence.

Besides the guests from outside, there were 111 local guests for which accommodation and transport for them was taken care of by the event manager.

The RTI findings further mentioned that two halls were booked for organising this festival- the State Convention Centre and U Soso Tham Auditorium, and the advertisers for the festival was Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd. and the amount paid for advertising to them was Rs 5 lakh.

Now the question arises, If DIPR mentioned that the funds has been sanctioned for the same purpose, then what could be the reason for its delay to clear the payment due to many advertising and publicity agencies? Why does it take so long, almost a year and a half for DIPR to process the payment? Could it be that the money has been misplaced?

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