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Sunday, July 18, 1999

Narmada works failed to deliver -- CAG

UNITED NEWS OF INDIA  
BHOPAL, JULY 17: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has reported that even after incurring an expenditure of Rs 2438.68 crore, the major Narmada Valley Projects had shown only a marginal increase in irrigation potential.According to the CAG report for the year ended March, 1998, out of ten major projects under the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), only the Rani Avanti Bai Sagar (RABS) project registered a marginal rise in irrigation potential, by 12,000 hectare.

The other nine projects under the NVDA are Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Bargi Diversion, Maan, Jobat, Upper Narmada, Upper Beda and Lower Goi.

The report also highlighted the fact that despite an investment of 33 per cent of the total estimated cost of Rs 7412.04 crore, no NVDA project has been completed so far.

The construction of the dam and canals of the Indira Sagar project, which are the biggest projects under the authority, was way behind schedule and no benefit was recorded, in spite of a recorded spending ofRs 922.55 crore, the report said.

Ironically, while lack of funds was cited as the reason for such a delay, the authorities recorded large-scale savings during 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98 to the tune of Rs 88.5 crore, Rs 77.04 crore and Rs 84.93 crore respectively, the report said.

The loan assistance of Rs 88.50 crore received from the Centre under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme and Rs 42 crore available from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development during 1996-97 and 1997-98 were not utilised fully, the report said.

The report added that the Narmada Valley Development Authority surrendered a sum of Rs 16.49 crore in the same period and diverted Rs 14.87 crore to other works. During 1994-95 and 1997-98, the report said the budget grant of Rs 8.87 crore for rehabilitation and resettlement works lapsed. Besides, Rs 14.32 crore were kept in banks outside Government accounts by land acquisition officers in violation of financial rules, it added.

The report described therehabilitation and resettlement of oustees of Indira Sagari and Sardar Sarovar Projects as ``very poor'', saying that only 746 out of 33014 project-affected families of Sardar Sarovar and 37 out of 29537 of Indira Sagar had been resettled.

The CAG pointed out that the establishment expenditure was very high in comparison to work expenditure, as the Madhya Pradesh Government did not modify the organisational structure of NVDA, even after it did not get the World Bank loan.

The Comptroller and Auditor General also detected irregularities on various counts amounting to Rs 302.90 crore under several heads, including excess payment, extra-avoidable cost, irregular and unfruitful expenditure, non-recovery and pending liabilities.

The purpose of creation of Narmada Valley Development Authority for planned and expeditious development of the Narmada basin was not served, the report concluded.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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