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CAG Raps WR Projects Execution

Bhubaneswar: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found several drawbacks in the execution of number of  irrigation projects in the State.

The State Government had initiated various irrigation projects (major, minor, mega lift etc.) at considerable cost with the objective of providing adequate and assured water supply for farming.

However, as noticed in the audit, lack of adequate and assured supply of water through completion of irrigation projects has deprived the farmers of irrigation facilities, the CAG said in its latest audit report surface irrigation.

During the period (2014-19) covered by this performance audit, the CAG test checked five major Irrigation projects, nine mega lift points (MLPs) and 10 minor irrigation projects (MIPs) for which a sum of Rs 12,742.11 crore had been incurred up to March 2020.

Other than nine MLPs, increase in cost of the projects ranged between 182 and 4,596 per cent. Despite escalation, only one major project i.e. The Upper Indravati Irrigation Project (UIIP) had been completed and other four major projects were in different stages of execution, said the report, which was tabled before the State Assembly on Thursday.

“Performance Audit of Surface Irrigation revealed several deficiencies in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the projects. The financial management of the test -checked projects was marred due to surrendering of funds resulting in non-completion of projects despite availability,” it said.

The auditor said there were also instances of loss of central assistance, parking of funds without utilization, non-realization of government revenue, non-adjustment of advances and inadmissible payment of tax.

Projects were found deficient in preparation and execution of DPRs and incorrect calculation of Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of the projects. These led to modifications in design and scope of work and revision in cost estimates affecting the schedule of implementation of the projects.

Similarly, in spite of incurring expenditure of Rs 12,742.11 crore in all of the test-checked projects, the irrigation potential (IP) achieved was 1,22,418 ha against the proposed IP of 5,02,842 ha which constituted only 24 per cent of the envisaged potential.

The reasons for non-completion and non-achievement of IP in test checked projects are non-acquisition of land, deficient DPRs, defective survey and investigation, deficient design in execution of the projects, inadequate availability of water in the canals etc.  Implementation of major projects is facing delays ranging from 13 to 43 years.

The CAG has issued a set of recommendations to the Water Resources to improve the financial and administrative management.  

The Department needs to closely monitor financial management of the irrigation projects and fix responsibility on the executives for financial irregularities, it said.
The State Government may evaluate performance of the components of individual projects to identify specific areas for focused attention and direct all executants to intensify efforts for their expeditious completion.

The auditor also recommended the Government to ensure commencement of project works after acquisition of land as stipulated in OPWD code.

The Government may adopt a suitable mechanism for timely evacuation of the displaced persons immediately after payment of R&R assistance and fix accountability on officers responsible for delay in evacuation resulting in extra payments, it further suggested.

Responsibility needs to be fixed on executives for improper survey and adoption of defective design causing slippage of embankment necessitating avoidable restoration works. Accountability of executives needs to be fixed by the Department for defective execution of works, the CAG further said.