The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has strongly criticised the Water Resources Department for the delay in approval of coastal drainage development projects that led to escalation of the project cost by 167 per cent.
The department prepared a master plan of ` 570.77 crore in August 2002 for improvement of drainage system in the coastal areas. The objective was to retrieve 1.90 lakh hectares of water logged areas for agricultural purpose.
The master plan was submitted to the Central Water Commission (CWC) in November, 2003 but was not approved till December, 2012 as the detailed project report (DPR) was not prepared as per CWC guidelines. There was no mention about the existing irrigation projects serving the command areas in the DPR.
The project cost was revised twice and the last revision was made in November 2011 to Rs 1521 crore due to delay in approval by the CWC, the CAG said.
The Central audit examined DPRs of 27 of 68 projects. Of those, four projects - Rananadi, Gobari, Brudhanandi drainage systems and drainage-cum-creek system from Maharampur to Kanakamara - were sanctioned a loan of ` 33.94 crore by the National Bank for Agriculture Development (Nabard) to retrieve 3,500 hectares of agricultural land and clear drainage congestion.
“Two projects (Rananadi and Gobari drainage systems), which were sanctioned Rs 19.21 crore, were left incomplete (March 2012) with expenditure of ` five crore without clearing their mouths pending finalisation of the design by the chief engineer (drainage),” the CAG report stated.
The department explained that additional data relating to flood sought by the chief engineer (design) will be submitted for finalisation of the design and the actual length of the Gobari system for renovation.
While the actual length of system is 33.5 km, the same was mentioned 35 km in the DPR.
The reply was not acceptable to the Central audit. Though the Rananandi project was sanctioned in June, 2010, the Department had not finalised the design till December, 2012.
The CAG further expressed its displeasure over non-execution of the drainage-cum-creek system from Maharampur to Kankamara due to encroachment 820 metre at the origin of the drainage system. While the project was sanctioned ` 1.73 crore, the work was closed with an expenditure of ` 2 crore.