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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

CAG slams Maharashtra government over poor implementation of Gosikhurd project

mumbai Updated: Mar 29, 2018 09:28 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
The ACB is probing nearly 40 tenders of Gosikhurd project as part of its Vidarbha scam .
The ACB is probing nearly 40 tenders of Gosikhurd project as part of its Vidarbha scam .(FILE)

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the state over poor implementation of the Gosikhurd irrigation project, one of the biggest projects in Asia, which resulted in cost escalation from Rs372 crore in 1983 to Rs18,494 crore. The shoddy implementation also led to creation of only 50,317 hectares, lower than its estimated target of 2.50 lakh hectares.

The project was envisaged in March 1983 to create an irrigation potential of 2.50 lakh hectares in Bhandara, Nagpur and Chandrapur. Tagged as the national project in 2009, Gosikhurd was planned to create irrigation facilities in dry and backward Vidarbha.

The report which was tabled by the government in the state legislature on Wednesday stated inherent flaws in planning, including faulty survey, non-acquisition of land and overlaps in irrigable command area necessitated changes in the scope of the project. “Failure in acquisition of the land led to multifold cost escalation and for want of viable funding plan, the Central Water Commission was delayed. Changes in the contract conditions and violation of provisions benefited the contractors with undue financial benefits,” the report stated.

The report points at the flaws from the inception of the project as the detailed project report had overlapping of command area. “The Mokhabardi command area was reduced by 7.90km as the canal alignment was falling in the forest area. To compensate for the reduction, Wadala Branch canal was proposed with the additional cost of Rs369 crore. When asked for explanation, the Water Resources Department said that the DPR was prepared without detailed survey. The flaws in the survey in demarcating the command area led to entailing additional cost of Rs770 crore due to the changes in the scope,” the report said.

The report has also slammed the department for double compensation to 172 families having houses on forest land as well as gaothans for acquisition of the land. This led to a loss of Rs1.19 crore. The delay in payment of compensation led to an additional cost of Rs82.35 towards interest.

The report recommended timely land acquisition, sufficient allocation of funds and their effective utilization. It has also recommended strengthening of the monitoring and directed to expedite the completion of canals and distribution networks.

ACB probing nearly 40 tenders of Gosikhurd project as part of its Vidarbha scam

The Nagpur Police, on February 20, 2018, registered six new offences in the alleged scam pertaining to the irregularities in bidding process in Gosikhurd irrigation project.

The officials of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) and contractors have been booked in the FIR. The offences have been registered after the Anti-Corruption Bureau, during its open inquiry, found irregularities and discrepancies in the bidding process.

The project is being implemented by VIDC since April 1997, since the formation of the Corporation. There are about 14 offences registered in the alleged scam till date. The investigating agency has filed chargesheets in two earlier cases filed in a special court of Nagpur ACB.

The project saw three Revised Adminitrative Approvals taking the cost to Rs18,494 crore. As per the revised schedule, the project is now has been proposed to be completed by March 2020.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 09:26 IST

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