March 18, 2021 8:32:15 am
NINE MAJOR irrigation projects caused the Punjab government to suffer a net loss of Rs 390.90 crore in 2018-19, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has noted in the state finances audit report for the year ending March 31, 2019.
The report was tabled in the recently held Budget session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
It also pointed out that 53 projects, scheduled for completion between 2008-09 and 2018-19, were incomplete, and the progressive expenditure of Rs 892.33 crore incurred on these incomplete projects was yet to yield intended benefits.
While analysing the government expenditure and investments, the CAG report said: “The financial results of 9 major irrigation projects involving a capital expenditure of Rs 550.45 crore at the end of March 2019 showed that revenue realised from these projects during 2018-19 (Rs 17.52 crore) was only 3.18 per cent of the capital expenditure on these projects. This return was not sufficient to cover even the total working expenses and maintenance charges (Rs 407.97 crore) and interest charges (Rs 0.45 crore) during the year 2018-19. These projects suffered a net loss of Rs 390.90 crore.”
The nine projects are: Upper Bari Doab Canal, Sirhind Canal, Sutlej valley project (Eastern canal), Shah Nahar Canal Project, Madhopur Beas Link Project, Harike Project, installation of 96 tubewells in Shahkot block of Jalandhar district, installation of 150 tubewells along main branch to augment irrigation supplies from Upper Bari Doab Canal tracts, and installation of 108 tubewells in Mahilpur block of Hoshiarpur district.
“The state government may compile working results of major irrigation projects to assess benefits of persistently heavy outlays in irrigation sector. These working results should guide future investments in the sector,” read the CAG report.
The report also highlighted that 53 projects of three departments namely the irrigation, public works department (B&R) and water supply and sanitation for which Rs 892.33 crore was incurred were incomplete as on March 31, 2019.
The projects, as per the report, were scheduled to be completed between 2008-09 to 2018-19.
Out of the 53 incomplete projects, 34 were of the irrigation department with a total initial budgeted cost of Rs 2675.85 crore, 14 were of PWD (B&R) department with a total initial budgeted cost of Rs 136.59 crore, and five of water supply and sanitation department initially budgeted for Rs 34.12 crore.
“The expenditure of Rs 892.33 crore incurred on these 53 incomplete projects was yet to yield the intended benefits. Delays in completion of projects not only adversely affected the quality of expenditure but also deprived the state of intended benefits and economic growth,” the CAG report noted.
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