Ganga projects lag target by up to 99%, cost up by Rs 50,000 crore: CAG

Ganga projects lag target by up to 99%, cost up by Rs 50,000 crore: CAG

NEW DELHI: Administrative delays, poor contract management and lack of monitoring has led to cost escalation of more than Rs 49,800 crore in five national projects undertaken by the central government under river development and Ganga rejuvenation.

A comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, has reviewed five ongoing national projects and found that the physical progress of these projects are far below target, with the shortfall ranging from 8% to 99% in some cases.

“The cost escalation in the five projects before their inclusion in the scheme was Rs 32,802 crore. However, since their inclusion as National Projects, two projects namely Indira Sagar Polavaram project and Gosikhurd project, have alone registered a cost escalation of Rs 49,840 crore over the previous escalation,” CAG noted.

Remaining three projects have already overshot their approved completion time and none of them is near completion, it said.

The shortfall in terms of physical progress ranged up to 99% in the five projects under implementation along with an overall cost escalation of 2,341% that threatened the economic viability of the projects, the government auditor said.

The CAG has blamed management failures and deficiencies in terms of non-adherence to codal provisions relating to survey and investigations behind the tardy implementation and cost escalation.

Inefficient rehabilitation and resettlement measures further hindered progress of the projects and resulted in additional cost of Rs 1,332 crore due to revisions in agreements and Rs 82.35 crore on account of payment of interest arising from delayed payment of compensation, the CAG observed.

The CAG has recommended that the Centre must take up these projects in mission mode with appointment of a nodal officer to monitor their progress. The auditor said contract management needs to be streamlined.

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