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Apr 18, 2013 at 06:45pm IST

CAG indicts Maharashtra govt over delayed, costly irrigation projects

Mumbai: The CAG report on irrigation projects was tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday. The CAG slammed the Maharashtra government over incomplete irrigation projects, saying it has led to cost overruns of around Rs 27,000 crore in a finding that could raise questions on the role of NCP and its leader Ajit Pawar.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which presented its report for the year ending March 2012 to the state Assembly today, also said Rs 43,270.01 crore were totally spent on 426 incomplete projects in Maharashtra. The stinging report by the CAG in which it said some projects were pending for up to 45 years came at a time when Congress-NCP government is under fire over alleged irregularities in irrigation projects, delays and farmers being battered by drought. NCP held the irrigation portfolio for 14 years since 1999.

Ajit Pawar, the currrent Deputy Chief Minister and nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, was the Irrigation minister from 1999 to 2010. In 242 projects, the collective cost has escalated by Rs 26,617.26 crore from Rs 7,215.03 crore to Rs 33,832.29 crore.

After allegations of corruption in irrigation projects surfaced, Pawar had resigned in September 2012 only to be sworn in again two months later. The projects which had cost overruns above Rs 800 crore include Kukadi (cost overrun Rs 2,152.98 crore), Krishna Marathwada irrigation project (Rs 2,462.55 crore), Lower Dudhna (Rs 997.37 crore), Nandur Madhmeshwar (Rs 817.60 crore), Waghur (Rs 1,171.27 crore), Lower Tapi (Rs 985.10 crore), Shelgaon Barrage medium project (Rs 870.02 crore), Bodwad Parisar Sinchan Yojana (Rs 819.09 crore) and Koyana Hydro Electric Power Station IV (Rs 1,091.27 crore).

"Though these irrigation projects commenced five to 45 years ago, they are not yet complete. The oldest being Kukadi project, in respect of which the year of commencement was 1967 with a target date of completion of five years (1972)," CAG said.

"In respect of 98 projects of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation, 27 projects of Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation and three of Godawari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation, no cost revision has been reported, though these projects were commenced three to 37 years ago."

Maharashtra Government has appointed a special investigation team, led by irrigation expert Madhav Chitale, to look into "irrigation scam" after the opposition took up the issue.

With additional information from PTI