CAG faults erratic irrigation work
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the Water Resources department for not having streamlined procedure for prioritisation and selection of irrigation projects for loan assistance under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
The department could complete 41 out of 265 projects by March 2012 creating irrigation potential for 1,106 hectares and dropped 83 projects midway due to selection of projects without comprehensive study of technical, economic, financial, organisational aspects and preparedness for their implementation, the latest CAG report on economic sector said.
The remaining 141 projects are in different stages of construction with an expenditure of `241.32 cr. Though the Government had envisaged to create an additional irrigation potential for over 45,000 hectares by March 2012, its actual achievement was only 2 per cent, the performance audit covering the projects financed from RIDF loan between 2007 and 2012 said.
‘’As selection of the projects was done without following definite criteria, at least 196 projects sanctioned with total cost of `419.12 cr were either dropped or not commenced due to delay in land acquisition and obtaining forest clearance, non-finalisation of drawings/designs/ayacut planning in distribution system, lack of administrative approval and non-feasibility,” the CAG pointed out.
The Government achieved only 19 per cent of the envisaged irrigation potential during the 11th Plan period due to non-execution of several irrigation projects in the State, the report, which was tabled in the Assembly on Monday, said.
Though projects were sanctioned by Nabard as single package, the national auditor detected that at least 10 projects were unauthorisedly split up into two to 20 sub-packages for facilitating finalisation of tenders at lower level and to avoid combined valuation of bid capacity of the bidders.
Management of contracts was poor resulting in excess payment and undue benefit to contractors and extra cost to the department of `29.97 cr. The total unfruitful expenditure and undue benefit to contractors was estimated at `375 cr. ‘’Expenditure efficiency of the department was poor as the chief engineers surrendered `142 cr and could spend only 33 per cent of the sanctioned loan,’’ the audit report said.
The CAG slammed the department for lack of internal control and monitoring of projects. “The department did not have procedure for independent assessment of quality of work by third party.” The Water Resources department drew further flak from the Central audit organisation for not having a master plan for flood control. It asked the State Government to finalise a master plan with identification of vulnerable points for systematic management of flood.