Delay in completing the projects taken up as part of Jalayagnam has pushed up overall cost of the programme by a huge Rs. 52,116 crore by September last, placing an additional burden on public.

This was pointed out in the Comptroller and Auditor-General report on Jalayagnam which was tabled in the Assembly on Friday. The cost escalation was also partly due to changes in specifications, scope of work and designs following detailed surveys and investigations.

The CAG has come down heavily on the government for adopting an EPC (engineering procurement construction) model for awarding the works to contractors, deviating from the system recommended by the relevant international body—Federation Internationale des Ingenieurs—Conseils. Some contractors cornered most of the works by cross-forming joint venture companies.

The CAG found that Internal Bench-Mark values were inflated for some projects , resulting in extra cost of Rs. 3,129 crore.

The report stated that benefits out of reductions in specifications later did not go to the government which took upon itself the contractors’ costs and responsibilities in some cases.

Huge mobilisation advances, released, got blocked with contractors due to non-recovery on account of poor progress of works, particularly Pranahita-Chevella and Dummugudem-Nagarjunasagar Tailpond Dam canal projects. Rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced families was not properly planned. The draft plan for over 50 per cent of the 546 villages likely to be affected, was yet to be approved.

A major flaw was committed in formulating some projects based on the flood waters of the Krishna and Penna as the availability of flood waters in these rivers was not properly assessed. Quoting an expert committee report, the CAG said there would be floods in the Krishna only for 30 days in an year and that too at 40 per cent dependability.

It was due to this reason that the Central Water Commission held the Galeru-Nagari, Veligonda and Srisailam Left Bank Canal as unviable and returned the proposals.

The report blamed the Government for launching 31 massive lift irrigation schemes under Jalayagnam which all would require 54.43 per cent of the power generated in the State--a huge challenge in store for it.

Some compliments

The CAG, however, complimented initiative to launch Jalayagnam as extremely “timely and laudable” going by the fact that 50 per cent of the cultivated area in the State was rain-fed.

Thirteen out of 86 projëcts, taken up at an outlay of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to provide irrigation on assured basis to 97.5 lakh acre fresh ayacut, have been operationalised and water provided to 12.74 lakh acres of fresh ayacut.