Thursday, December 08, 2022

PAC detects non-functional projects worth crores of rupees

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:24 am

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Aug. 20 (EMN):
In yet another embarrassment to Nagaland, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) stated in its report on the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year 2013-14, that a non-functional project amounting to INR 1.23 crore has been detected.
The Churo Minor Irrigation Project (MI) at Chandalangshung village in Wokha district was constructed under the department of Irrigation and Flood Control at a total cost of INR 1.23 crore, targeted to cover 100 hectares of irrigation potential. The project was, however, abandoned even after incurring an expenditure of the said amount.

It was observed that due to poor workmanship, there was seepage at the initial point of the channel. Compounding to the seepage, thick undergrowth of vegetation and siltation along the channel line reportedly interrupted the flow of water from the source to reach the cultivable command area (CCA).

PAC (2020-2021) stated this in its 122nd report on the examination of the report of the CAG of India for the year 2013-14 on state finances audit report and audit report on social, economic, revenue and general sectors, which was presented to the house during the sixth session of the 13th NLA held on August 13.

The report stated that the project commenced on September 9, 2010, and was completed on July 19, 2011. During verification in May 2014, it was found that water was sufficiently available in the source. However, due to poor workmanship, there was seepage at the initial point of the channel and other problems.

The department stated in September 2014 that irrigation channels are often affected by heavy siltation due to high silt load of the streams and rivers. Thus, the channels get deposited by heavy silt load by the end of the crop season.

“Maintenance of irrigation project and repair to damages of channels is carried out yearly by the beneficiaries before onset of the monsoon. The visit by the audit team to the project site was before carrying out annual maintenance work by the water user association (WUA),” the report stated.

However, the committee stated that the reply was not acceptable as mono cultivation was taking place during monsoon season only, which is contrary to the objectives of the projects specified in DPRs that multi cultivation would be taking place in order to uplift the economic condition of the farmers.

In an audit query, when the committee asked what measures have been taken to revive the Churo project at Chandalashang, the department replied that the beneficiary farmers repaired and restored the damage of the project. The department maintained that minor projects and siltation of channel is a normal yearly occurrence during monsoon when there is heavy stream flow loaded with silt, shingles rolling boulders. The department added that yearly repair to damage has been taken up by the farmers and the project is functioning.

The department was also asked if they have taken up restoration work for the damaged section of the aqueduct and repair or maintenance of the MI project at Old Ralan, which was constructed at a cost of INR 3.12 crore. To this, the department, in the written reply, stated that the project was completed and handed over to WUAs. However, unprecedented flash flood which occurred during 2013 damaged the aqueduct and the restoration work could not be taken up as cost was beyond the economic means of the beneficiary farmers.

To another query about what monitoring measures have been taken up by the department for restoration of the Dzushara MI project at Phesama which was constructed at a project cost of INR 0.27 crore, the department replied that the project was completed in all respect but heavy landslides damaged a section of the channel and restoration work was beyond the means of the WUAs. The department also stated that repair to damage would be taken up by the beneficiaries and farmers on phase manner.

The department told the committee that they had handed over the project to Water Resources Association after completion of the project. It asserted that it is now the duty of the association to maintain in case of any natural calamity or heavy landslide. The department also made it clear that it would be difficult on their part to repair or renovate as it would incur heavy cost to the department.

However, the committee in its recommendation stated that the department’s reply on the three projects was contrary to the audit spot verification, citing poor workmanship.

The committee further recommended the department to impose disciplinary action against the executive officers for such defective execution of work and action taken report thereon should be submitted to the committee. In the case of Dzusharu MI project, the committee observed that proper MoU was not signed between the village administration and the department.

The department has been given two months time from the date of presentation of this report to the house for compliance on the recommendations of the committee.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:24:08 am