April 2, 2017 5:43:03 am
Work for the Rs 10,000-crore Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana — which was meant to divert one million acre feet (MAF) of surplus flood waters of river Narmada to the Saurashtra region — was taken up in Gujarat without ensuring actual water availability, stated the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) a report tabled in the Gujarat Assembly. “The work for Phase-I was taken up without ensuring actual water availability of 147.04 cumecs (cubic meter per second),” stated the CAG in a report on the state’s “Economic Sector.” The project was envisaged to irrigate 10.22 lakh acre of farms in Saurashtra by diverting Narmada flood waters for 100 days between July-October every year.
“Though the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) declined to enhance the capacity of the Morbi Branch Canal and the Botad Branch Canal and agreed to provide only 110 cumecs water, the water resource department awarded the consultancy services for preparation of a detailed project report on the presumption that 138.71 cumecs water would be available. This led to increase in the project cost of work of Phase-I due to creating of excess capacity,” the auditor observed in the report. The scope of work taken up under Phase-I included laying of 230 km twin trunk pipelines of 3000 mm internal diameter, construction of 10 pumping stations and operation and maintenance of commissioned pipelines for 10 years.
The CAG also pointed out that “comprehensive planning” on the Goma Sukhbhadhar Lift Pipeline project could have resulted in savings on almost Rs 75 crore. This project (a part of SAUNI yojana) was meant to lift 8.33 cumecs water from Botad Branch Canal and fill water bodies of Goma, Kaniyad, Sukhbhadar and Krishnasagar. The auditor also pointed out that an additional Rs 4.54 crore per annum expense incurred on electricity for lifting water could also have been avoided.
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