The clothes, however, could not be distributed apparently due to the lack of interest shown by many, found out the CAG audit report. The government had decided to source the sarees and the dhotis from Weaver’s Cooperative Societies and accordingly, released Rs 64.78 crore (at Rs 262.15 per set) in February 2016 to the director of handloom and textiles, which organised the supply of the clothes to taluk offices in the three districts.
The plan was to distributed these through ration shops. But, even though it was received by the tahsildars and distributed to the ration shops, they were eventually not distributed to the public, the report added.
In the end, only 10.59 lakh sarees and 10.71 lakh dhotis were distributed to ration shops – way less that 18.23 lakh sarees and 18.31 lakh dhotis that the taluk officers had received. Besides, the tahsildars had not even obtained the details of the actual distribution by ration shops.
Calculating this based on the excess stock lying in taluk offices, the audit found that 7.64 lakh sarees and 7.60 lakh dhotis, valued at Rs 19.99 crore, were bought in excess.
Responding to the report, the CRA said that the extra clothes were ordered for distribution during Pongal in 2017. But, according to the CAG, the reply confirmed inadmissible use of sanction under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the supply of clothes for the festival.
This was in violation of SDRF norms, as its funds were not allowed to be utilised for the supply of sarees and dhotis for the festival. The district collectors also did not have any idea on the actual distribution by ration shops.