Bhubaneswar: The Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report on Rural Development Department was tabled in the Assembly on Friday. Below are the details of the CAG’s report on RD Department:
Implementation of Biju Setu Yojana
A total budgetary provision of ₹ 2,570 crore was made for Biju Setu Yojana (BSY) during 2017-21, against which the actual utilisation stood at ₹ 2,255.62 crore (88 per cent) and ₹ 314.38 crore remained unutilised. There was scope for increasing the spending efficiency, by avoiding delays in completion of bridge projects by timely finalisation of tenders, timely settlement of land issues, avoiding revision of drawings and designs by conducting proper survey and investigations, etc.
Under the BSY, the State Government planned to complete 793 bridge projects during the period 2017-18 to 2020-21. Out of the targeted 793 bridges, only 473 bridges (59 per cent) were completed and 318 remained incomplete. Delay in finalisation of tender, deficiencies in initial survey, resulting in subsequent changes in design, failure in sorting out land issues as well as overall slow pace of works by contractors, were the primary reasons for non-achievement of targets for completion of bridge projects.
In case of five bridges in three RW Divisions, in contravention of BSY guidelines, sites for bridges were selected and approved despite the existence of alternate bridges within 5 km.
In case of 27 bridge projects, the lengths of the bridges taken up were found to be ranging between 8.77 metres and 22.35 metres i.e., less than 25 metres as specified in BSY guidelines. Thus, these bridge projects were not eligible for being considered under BSY.
Works on 48 bridge projects remained incomplete after incurring expenditure of ₹ 184.84 crore due to nonacquisition of land required for the bridge or for approach roads to the bridge.
In 82 bridge projects, provision for manual excavation instead of mechanical excavation, resulted in extra expenditure of ₹ 4.82 crore.
In 19 bridge projects, provision for sourcing 0.51 lakh cubic metre of stone was made from distant quarries instead of nearby quarries, which led to overall inflation of cost of these projects by ₹ 1.87 crore.
In 40 bridge projects, the cost estimates of the projects did not provide for utilisation of the excavated earth in the projects. 1.71 lakh cum earth had been excavated from these projects. Non-provision for use of excavated earth resulted in avoidable expenditure of ₹ 2.15 crore.
A High Level bridge over river Suktel on Tamia Mudalsar road in the district of Bolangir was completed in September 2015 with an expenditure of ₹ 7.58 crore. Due to execution of very poor and porous concrete in the deck, cracks developed in Span-4 of the bridge and the badly distressed super-structure in Span-4 was recommended for demolition. The bridge collapsed (April 2020) while dismantling work was going on and caused two casualties.
The field officers of the Rural Works Division and independent State Quality Monitors (SQM) form the first and second-tier quality assurance mechanism, respectively. SQM did not inspect 105 (96.33 per cent) bridge works, due to which the two-tier mechanism, envisaged in the guidelines to ensure quality of bridge works, failed to work.
RD Department instructed that Third Party Quality Monitors (TPQM) would inspect all the bridge projects valued at ₹ 2 crore and above. As per this criterion, there were 166 BSY bridges that were eligible for inspection by TPQM. TPQM did not inspect 133 bridges works (80 per cent) despite standing instructions.