The ‘white paper’ on irrigation presented to the state cabinet Thursday suggests policy and administrative changes to ensure completion of ongoing projects and increasing area under irrigation. It calls for phased execution of projects under way, depending on priority and work already completed.
With allegations abound about cost escalation and delay, the paper has recommended that irrigation projects now on be executed through the annuity process adopted for all major road works.
“In the annuity system, the responsibility of raising funds and completing projects by deadline rests with contractors.” Currently, the responsibility is with the state government.
The paper suggests staying projects in which less than 25 per cent of work has been completed. It says major projects in which over 75 per cent of work has been completed should be divided into smaller units decided by average 5,000 or 10,000 hectares to be brought under irrigation and these be completed in a phased manner.
There are 670 projects under way on which Rs 53,209 crore had been spent till March 2012. Rs 78,451 crore more is required to complete these projects.
There are 150 projects on which more than 75 per cent expenditure has been made. The remaining cost is Rs 2,164.3 crore to bring 198.390 thousand hectares under irrigation.
There are 205 projects on which less than 25 per cent expenditure has been made. These will require another Rs 38,265 crore for completion to bring 1,765.883 thousand hectares under irrigation.
Allegation: Cost rose manifold from Rs 372 crore in March 1982 to Rs 7,777.85 crore in 2008. In comparison to expenditure of Rs 6,609.64 crore, i.e. 84.98 per cent of final cost of Rs 7,777.85 crore, irrigation potential created is a mere 34,022 hectares or 13.5 per cent of the target of 2,50,800 hectares. Of the 195 major tenders (Rs 1 crore and above) floated in four financial years, 50 were allotted at five per cent below original estimated cost. Cost of 90 tenders arbitrarily increased.
White paper stand: Cost escalation largely due to revised rate contract. Original rates were of 1982-83. Revised rates were approved in 1995-96. Re-revised in 2005-06, increasing cost by Rs 1,905 crore. A third revision in 2011-12 increased cost by Rs 3,997 crore to Rs 13,739 crore.
Human Nadi project
Estimated cost of project in Sindewahi tehsil, Chandrapur district, Rs.33,67,74. On June 24, 2009, it was increased 29 times