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CAG pulls up Gujarat govt for slackness in salinity prevention

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 28, 2018 Published on March 28, 2018

‘Delay in works pushed up costs’

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pulled up the Gujarat government for the dismal progress in salinity ingress prevention and sharp escalation in cost of scheme due to delay in carrying out the works.

The CAG report comes at a time when the State is facing a water crisis.

‘Slow progress’

In its audit of Salinity Ingress Prevention Scheme (SIPS), the CAG observed that except in case of check-dams and recharge wells, the progress of works was very slow even after lapse of 25-39 years since the acceptance of report of HLCs by the Gujarat government. The report for the year ended March 2017 was tabled in the State Assembly on Wednesday.

The CAG noted that in the four reaches (areas) covered by the High Level Committees (HLCs) — Una-Madhavpur, Bhavnagar-Una, Madhavpur-Maliya and Malia-Lakhpat — the fresh water category has deteriorated.

“No action/limited action was taken for establishment of trial-cum-demonstration (TCD) farms, coastal land reclamation, gully plugging and afforestation... As against the original cost of ₹789.12 crore estimated by the HLCs, an expenditure of ₹1,045.65 crore was incurred up to March 2017. For the remaining works, the estimate was revised to ₹2,544.79 crore. Thus due to delay in implementation of the recommended works, the cost of the scheme escalated by 455 per cent,” the report said.

It noted that the ground water legislation recommended by HLC in 1978 has not been enacted even as on March 2017.

Groundwater quality

The CAG also remarked on the deteriorating groundwater quality in the State. “As compared to May 2012, in all the four reaches the number of wells under fresh water category have reduced in May 2016,” said CAG.

In the four years between May 2012 and May 2016, there was marginal improvement in ground water levels. In May 2012, 29.42 per cent wells had ground water level below sea level, which improved to 25.57 per cent in May 2016.

 

Published on March 28, 2018
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