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CAG slams AP govt for ‘irregularities’ in Pattiseema Irrigation Scheme

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found fault with the way the Andhra Pradesh government has executed a key irrigation project.

The CAG has found irregularities in award of contract for the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (PLIS) and slammed the government for “improper planning” of the programme.

A series of CAG reports on its audit findings for the year ended March 2016 were tabled in the Legislative Assembly today.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had been showcasing PLIS as the first project interlinking two major rivers (Godavari and Krishna) in the country.

“Relaxation of ceiling on tender premium and award of work at higher premium without completion of Polavaram right main canal and its distributary system resulted in avoidable additional burden of?Rs?199 crore.

“Audit also observed avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 138.18 crore due to unwarranted change in construction methodology. Incorrect reimbursement of Labour Welfare Cess, though not required under the agreement, led to undue benefit of Rs 14.22 crore to the contractor in PLIS,” the CAG said in its report on Economic Sector.

Due to lack of canal system of adequate carrying capacity, only 11 of the 24 pumps of PLIS were operated during the flood in July-September 2016. Thus, due to improper planning, the targeted objectives could not be achieved despite completion of the scheme, the auditor said.

“The life of the project was taken as 20 years in the detailed project report and depreciation was allowed accordingly.

“However, the project is contemplated to run only till the completion of the Polavaram project in 2019. Thus, the life of PLIS would be only three years,” the CAG noted.

Though the government estimated the cost of PLIS at Rs 1170.25 crore while inviting bids in March 2015, it awarded the contract to Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd Hyderabad for Rs 1427.70 crore, which was 21.9991 per cent excess over the estimated value.

The revised estimate, after the award of contract, was increased to over Rs 1,600 crore, it said.

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