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CAG finds irregularities in rural bridge construction in Odisha

The CAG report, tabled in the state assembly Friday, said the state government had planned to complete 793 bridge projects during 2017 to 2021 out of which only 473 were completed, which is 59%. The scheme was launched by the state government in 2011 to bridge all the missing links on roads in rural areas.

A high level bridge over river Suktel on Tamia Mudalsar road in Bolangir district was completed in September 2015 with an expenditure of Rs 7.58 crore. (Representational image)

Delay in finalization of tender, deficiencies in survey resulting in changes in design, failure in resolving land issues and slow pace works by contractors are some of the reasons pointed out by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) for slow progress of Biju Setu Yojana (BSY) of the Odisha government.

The CAG report, tabled in the state assembly Friday, said the state government had planned to complete 793 bridge projects during 2017 to 2021 out of which only 473 were completed, which is 59%. The scheme was launched by the state government in 2011 to bridge all the missing links on roads in rural areas.

The authorities could spend only Rs 2,255 crore against the budget provision of Rs 2,570 crore under BSY. Works on 48 bridge projects remained incomplete after incurring expenditure of Rs 184 crore due to non-acquisition of land required for the bridge or for approach roads to the bridge. Also, provision for manual excavation instead of mechanical excavation, resulted in extra expenditure of Rs 4.82 crore in 82 projects, pointed out the CAG.

The report also mentioned about poor monitoring of the work by the state quality monitors (SQM) and third party quality monitors (TPQM). While the SQM did not inspect 96% bridge works, the TPQM did not inspect 80% despite instructions.

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A high level bridge over river Suktel on Tamia Mudalsar road in Bolangir district was completed in September 2015 with an expenditure of Rs 7.58 crore. Due to execution of very poor and porous concrete in the deck, cracks developed. The bridge collapsed in April 2020 while dismantling work was going on and caused two casualties, said the audit report.

The CAG also observed gross discrepancies in functioning of child care institutions (CCI) in Odisha. During audit, inadequacies were found in terms of physical infrastructure like dormitories, dining halls, kitchen and open space. Security measures in the CCIs, particularly, perimeter security walls were also not proper.

“Out of the 3,181 children (boys: 1,695 and girls: 1,486) in the CCIs of the eight test-checked districts, only 48 children (1.51%) were identified for foster care and, of these, only 11 (23%) were actually placed under such care,” the report pointed out.

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The test-checked districts include Cuttack, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Khurda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj and Puri.

On functioning of working women’s hostels in Odisha, the CAG report said average percentage of occupancy in these hostels was only 42% during 2016-21 because of absence of poor repair and maintenance of these buildings, absence of basic facilities and lack of awareness. Eight working women’s hostels in the state, with bed strength of 603, were being utilized for other purposes.

Meanwhile, the winter session of the state assembly adjourned sine die Friday. The session started on November 24 was scheduled to continue till December 31.

First published on: 02-12-2022 at 20:36 IST
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