CAG: Fadnavis government’s pet project Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan in Maharashtra failed after spending over ₹9K crore
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report tabled in the state legislature on Tuesday slammed the previous Fadnavis government for its failure in implementation of Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan (JSA) envisaged to make villages in Maharashtra drought-free.
Besides the deficiencies in planning and lack of provision of adequate funds for maintenance of the works, JSA failed to achieve water neutrality in drought-prone villages and increase the ground water level as intended, the report has stated.
The report on the general, social sectors and public undertaking for the financial year ended on March 31, 2019 and tabled in the Legislative Assembly pointed out that even after spending ₹9,634 crore, the Abhiyan had little impact. “The objective of the Abhiyan was to harvest maximum rainwater and arrest maximum runoff. However, it was observed that in 120 villages under test check, the storage planned was less than the estimated runoff by 1.64 lakh thousand cubic meter (TCM). Shortfall in creation of storage vis-à-vis planned storage (was observed) in 83 out of 120 selected villages, the storage created was not sufficient to meet the water requirement for drinking and cultivation to the extent of 61,045 TCM,” stated the report.
CAG further observed that “in 37 out of 83 villages, the shortfall in meeting the water requirement was due to less storage created than planned. Further, in 25 of these 37 villages, the shortfall in creation of storage vis-à-vis planned storage was more than 20%. Consequently, in 17 of these 83 villages, water tankers were deployed for meeting the water requirement of the villages”.
The report said: “One of the main objectives of the Abhiyan was to increase the level, but audit compared groundwater level in 58 selected villages for which the data on groundwater level pre- and post-implementation of the Abhiyan was assessed. For the purpose of comparison, the year in which rainfall post implementation of Abhiyan was more than the rainfall before implementation of the Abhiyan was taken into consideration.”
In another CAG report on state finances for the same year, the auditor has also slammed the government for delay in implementation of irrigation projects. It has stated that out of 345 ongoing irrigation projects, 211 were under execution for more than 15 years, while remaining 69 were incomplete for more than 30 years. After spending ₹92,010 crore, the projects could not achieve the estimated objective and delays resulted in the cost escalation.
Leader of opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the objective could not be achieved as the incumbent government scrapped the Abhiyan. “The JSA was planned to be implemented for 10 years. Had it been continued, the objective would have been achieved. The strictures in the report are related to a few works under the scheme and not about the entire JSA. Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court had appointed an expert committee to study the scheme, and the report submitted by it had louded it. It has in details said how the JSA helped in rising the water level in Marathwada and other drought prone areas of the state,” he said.