Conversion of grants into loans cautioned

By TheHindu on 29 Mar 2017 | read

The State government of united Andhra Pradesh received flak from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for several shortcomings in design, planning, survey and investigation, execution, and delay in completion of five medium irrigation projects taken up in 2005.

Though the projects were targeted to be completed within two years, only two — the Mathadivagu and the Ralivagu projects — were completed except for some ancillary work, while the remaining three were still under constriction even 11 years after they were first taken up, the CAG said in its audit report for 2015-2016, which was tabled in the Assembly on Monday.

“The projects were not completed due to improper planning, delay in submission and approval of design, rehabilitation and resettlement activities, and obtaining forest clearances, among other reasons. Irrigation potential of only 13,900 acres was achieved till May 2016 against the targeted 52,000 acres,” the report observed.

Despite receiving almost full grants under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), three projects — Gollavagu, Neelwai, and Peddavagu at Jagannathapur — were yet to be completed even after 11 years. The report pointed out that there was shortfall in utilisation of AIBP funds in respect to Gollavagu (₹2.24 crore) and Peddavagu (₹41.53 crore).

Survey delayed

“Since none of the projects were completed within the time stipulated by the AIBP, the possibility of conversion of grants to loans cannot be ruled out,” the CAG report cautioned the State government. It further pointed out that the projects were planned without properly taking into account water availability and planning village-wise irrigation potential. Survey and investigation activities were deficient and delayed. The delay on account of taking up relief and rehabilitation activities led to grant of extension of time to agencies.

Faulting the government for allowing undue benefits to work agencies, the CAG report stated that there were several such instances with changes in basic parameters or owing of agencies’ liabilities by the department. Drinking water facilities were not provided under any of the projects, as envisaged in the detailed project reports.