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TN identified eight river linking projects but sanctioned only two in 10 years

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 24, 2021

A representative image   -  The Hindu

Just two of the eight river-linking projects identified by the Tamil Nadu government within the State were sanctioned and pending completion according to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for the year ended March 2018 on Economic Sector of the Government of Tamil Nadu tabled in the State Legislature on Thursday.

The audit of two sanctioned projects revealed that due to indiscriminate drawal of groundwater, the number of blocks under the categories of over-exploited and critical in Tamil Nadu was steadily increasing. The State Water Policy and 11th Five Year Plan Document (2007-12) of the State also flagged water as a serious limiting factor for agricultural growth in the State and aimed at augmentation of utilisable water resources through interlinking the river basins within the State.

In Tamirabarani-Karumeniyar river project, only 21 out of 72 packages were completed even after seven years and completed stretches were not geographically contiguous. The delay was due to deficient field investigation and defective assessment of required land. This led to non-utilisation of surplus water, non achievement of targeted harvest area and increase in project cost by 48 per cent, amounting to ₹177.33 crore, the report said.

In Cauvery-Agniyar-Gundar river project, the link canal was not sanctioned even after 10 years of taking up the project, despite the construction of a barrage at a cost of ₹248.55 crore. This led to non-harnessing of 31,571 mcft surplus water in six districts. Non-sanctioning of the remaining six identified projects delayed irrigation benefits to 16 districts of Tamil Nadu, the report added.

The report covers the functioning of ten departments of Economic Sector, with a total expenditure of ₹26,666.77 crore during 2017-18. A major portion of the expenditure was incurred by Highways and Minor Ports (32.36 per cent), Agriculture (28.28 per cent), Public Works (16.73 per cent) and Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (7.42 per cent) Departments, the report said.

Published on June 24, 2021

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