CAG finds glaring loopholes, irregularities in SSNNL
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 21:53
Gandhinagar: Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) implementing the ambitious Narmada project in the state has diverted irrigation funds worth Rs 1833 crore for some other work which delayed creation of irrigation potential in the Narmada project canal command area, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report tabled in the state assembly on Tuesday.

The report, has found glaring irregularities and loopholes in the accounts of the SSNNL.

"The project cost increased substantially from Rs 6406.04 crore at 1986-87 prices to Rs 35,045.75 crore at 2005-06 prices," CAG has observed in the report.

The report added: "The company diverted accelerated irrigation benefit programme (AIBP) funds worth Rs 1833.12 crore meant for development of the main canal and distribution network to other areas of the project which led to delay in creation of irrigation potential."

"The completed length of the canal system was only 18803 km against the envisaged length of 90,389 km," noted the audit authority, adding, "Out of the total envisaged canal command area (CCA) of 18.29 lakh hectare, the company has so far developed CCA of 3.41 lakh hectare of which the utilised CCA remained at 1.2 lakh hectare only."

Moreover, the SSNNL created irrigation potential in the already water fed areas while it ignored the water scarce zones like Saurashtra and Kutch, observed the CAG.

It also pointed out that the ambitious Narmada project for irrigation was slowly being converted into a drinking water project by the SSNNL.

The CNG has also found laxity on the part of the SSNNL in canal maintenance and repair works.

"Even after investment of Rs 18515.58 crore in canal network, the repairs and maintenance was not done, indicating laxity of the company in safeguarding its valued assets besides threat of life/property in canal vicinity," noted the CAG.

What is more glaring in the audit report is that the agency has still not framed a comprehensive irrigation policy while the interim policy did not cover some vital issues like system of assessing crops pattern, fixation of water charges and responsibilities of water users' association.

There were also deficiencies in management of contracts like award of work before acquisition of requisite land, obtaining requisite clearances, finalising the construction stage drawings and failure to take up repair works in time which has adversely affected the development of the command area.

The audit agency has recommended a number of measures to bring the execution of the project on track and expedite the canal works and making a viable debt service plan to avoid huge financial burden on the Gujarat government.


First Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 21:53

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