CAG finds deficiencies in state’s irrigation projects

Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme, the Centre had sanctioned a total of Rs 25,000 crore between 2008 and 2017 to Karnataka, under major, medium and minor irrigation projects. PTI file photo

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found a number of deficiencies in the implementation of centrally sponsored irrigation projects in the state. In several instances, it noticed undue favour was made to contractors by the state government.

Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme, the Centre had sanctioned a total of Rs 25,000 crore between 2008 and 2017 to Karnataka, under major, medium and minor irrigation projects.

The audit, which covered the execution of projects from 2008-09 to 2016-17, found that in Upper Tunga Project, an amount of Rs 98 lakh was withdrawn between June 6, 2014 and July 23, 2014, through five forged cheques. Though an amount of Rs 51 lakh was recovered, Rs 47 lakh had not been recovered as on December 2016. In the same project, against an award amount of land compensation of Rs 32 lakh, a compensation of Rs 2.63 crore was fraudulently released.

In the Upper Tunga Project, instead of imposing Rs 6.47 crore penalty for delay in completion of the project, the government imposed only a nominal penalty of Rs 59 lakh.

In the Narayanapura left bank canal project, though the state water resources department rules say that 25% of weightage over the rates in the schedule of rates was payable only with the final payment bill of the work, the department paid Rs 187.19 crore of weightage, with running accounts bill for payments made, up to 90% of the work completion.

Thus, undue benefit of over payment/prepayment of Rs 187 crore was extended to the contractor, said the report, tabled in the just-concluded Parliament session.

In the Guddada Mallapura in Haveri district, work valued at Rs 35.87 crore related to lift irrigation scheme was taken back from the first contractor on account of slow progress and given to another contractor, at a cost of Rs 86.47 crore. The extra cost of Rs 50.60 crore was not recovered from the first contractor by invoking risk and cost clause. Hence, undue benefit of Rs 50.60 crore was extended to the first contractor, said the report.

Due to delay in implementation of the project, several projects faced cost overrun. For instance, Rameshwar project in Belagavi district faced Rs 126.43 crore cost overrun, while Varahi in Udupi district faced Rs 143.02 crore cost overrun, said the report.

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CAG finds deficiencies in state’s irrigation projects

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