J&K government faced yet another rap on its knuckles by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The latest censure came for its failure to complete a number of power projects within the fixed time-frame. According to the CAG report the delay in completion of six hydro-electric power projects by the state-owned Power Development Corporation resulted in cost overruns ranging from 41 per cent to unbelievable 687 per cent, while time overruns stretched from four years to 16 years. Pointing ‘lack of effective control over the completion of the projects’ the report estimates a whopping Rs 1,708.97 crore cost overrun on these projects. While the detailed project reports (DPR) had estimated a total expenditure of Rs 3,945.30 crores, in actual these projects consumed Rs 5,654.27 crores. In respect of 450-MW Phase-I Baglihar project, the DPR envisaged Rs 3,899 crores expenditure and fixed 2003 for completion. Against this there was a six year long delay in completion of the project which saw the cost escalation of a staggering Rs 1,611.09 crores, with total expenditure of Rs 5,510.09 crores. Baglihar is not the only project where the state shelled out much more than was actually estimated. There are a host of other mini projects which the state should normally have been able to complete within the fixed timeframe. But that did not happen! The dismal picture that has been sketched by the CAG about the small projects shows that Marpacho mini-hydel project estimated at Rs 1.63 crores and scheduled to be completed in 1990, was completed after fifteen years delay in 2006 at Rs 11.21 crores. The cost overrun of this project works out to a whopping 687 per cent at Rs 11.21 crores. The fate of other projects is no different. The Haftal estimated at Rs 3.95 crores and envisioned to be completed in 1990 was done after a delay of 16 years at a cost overrun of Rs 12.17 crores. The Bhaderwah project was completed after nine years with a cost overrun of Rs 8.21 crores at a total cost of Rs 10.60 crores, as compared to the DPR estimate of Rs 2.39 crores. The 3-MW Igo Mercellong project suffered a cost overrun of Rs 27.79 crores and time overrun of eight years. The 1-MW Pahalgam project was completed at a cost of Rs 55.20 crores in March 2010, compared to the estimate of Rs 16.70 crores, translating into a cost overrun of Rs 38.50 crores.
The non-completion of these projects did not only result in cost-overruns, it effectively prevented the state from generating revenues from these projects. In other words had the state been able to complete these projects within the fixed time-frame, it would firstly have saved Rs 1708 crores it incurred as over-cost on these projects. Secondly, it would have generated a good amount of revenues by way of power generation. Not only this, if the projects came in time, it would help the state to have more energy which in turn would have been helpful for the industry. There is no denying the fact that energy in the modern day world is desideratum for the economic progress. No progressive society can think of growth and prosperity without electricity. Besides, no responsible state, more so when it is cash-starved, can afford to go about projects like this. As per the CAG report the slippages in time schedule of these projects was avoidable at various stages, but nothing was done. The report points poor contract management, undue favour and non-accountability of contractors, besides delays in land acquisition, handing over of sites, obtaining clearances, government sanctions and payments for these projects. The report, if anything, must make the state government sit up and sensitize its administration about taking government works seriously. A message should go from top to bottom that no unwarranted administrative action should come in the way of completion of government projects. It must be emphasized that the state borrows huge chunks of money from the market to complete these projects. Once there is delay it hurts the state by increasing the quantum of interest payments.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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