The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has calculated cost overruns to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore in irrigation projects in drought-hit Maharashtra over the last four decades, according to a CAG report tabled in the state Assembly on Thursday.
The CAG had audited 242 out of the 426 incomplete irrigation projects that incurred a loss of Rs 43,270.01 crore to the exchequer. According to the report, some of these projects were started as long ago as 40 years, the oldest being the Kukadi project commenced in 1967 with a completion target of five years. The report pointed out that the delay resulted in the cost of the projects shooting up from Rs 7,124 crore to Rs 33,832 crore.
The irrigation projects in which the cost overruns are above Rs 800 crore are the Nandur Madhmeshwar project(Rs 817.60 crore), Bodwad Parisar Sinchan Yojana (Rs 819.09 crore), Shelgaon Barrage Medium project (Rs 870.02 crore), Lower Tapi project (Rs 985.10 crore), Lower Dudhna project (Rs 997.37 crore), Koyana hydro-electric power station IV (Rs 1,091.27 crore), Kukadi project (Rs 2,152.98 crore) and Krishna Marathwada project (Rs 2,462.55 crore).
The government, particularly the NCP which has held the irrigation department since 1999, will find it difficult to explain the 369 per cent escalation in the costs.