GUWAHATI, March 6 � Poor planning, mismanagement and inadequate monitoring adversely affected the State Government�s implementation of urban water supply projects under Centrally-sponsored and State plan schemes during 2004-09.
These were among the many anomalies revealed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that characterized the implementation of different development projects by the State Government.
��water supply facilities were not provided to 72 out of 87 towns and the targeted population of 5.52 lakh (out of 5.64 lakh people as per 2001 census) was not covered as of March 209 due to poor planning and inadequate monitoring of the execution of the schemes,� the report states.
The objective of providing safe drinking water to the targeted beneficiaries was not fulfilled, as only eight per cent projects (two out of 24 projects due for completion between 1986-87 and 2008-09) were recorded to have been completed�the actual coverage of population under the schemes was only 0.12 lakh (two per cent).
The utter failure of the State Government in ensuring a basic need like drinking water can be gauged from the following findings.
The Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board (AUWSSB) did not utilize Rs 36.14 crore of the available funds for implementation of the projects during 2004-09.
Two projects (Sarthebari and Rangapara) were recorded as completed despite non-completion of the work approved in the DPRs.
The report further notes that time and cost overruns in the execution of the projects resulted in piling up of ongoing projects. �The systems for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the programmes by the State Government were absent. No evaluation studies had been carried out by the nodal department to ascertain the extent of achievement of the objectives of the programmes in the State,� it adds.
Citing delayed release of Central funds after it is received by the State Government as another concern, the report states that despite there being an NLCPR guideline mandating utilization of Central funds within nine months, the State Government released NLCPR funds of Rs 16.89 crore (out of Rs 22.83 crore received from the Centre) to the AUWSSB after a delay of six to 21 months. The balance amount of Rs 5.94 crore was not released by the State Government as on March 2009.
The report recommended preparation of a long-term master plan to ensure provision of adequate and safe drinking water to cover all towns in a phased manner; completion of schemes with the available resources before taking up new schemes to avoid spreading the resource thin; adequate and timely release of funds to the implementing agency for ensuring time and cost overrun; strict adherence to scheduled timeframe for completion and fixing of accountability for slippages in deadlines; and enforcing the procedures for periodical inspection/monitoring of completed/ongoing schemes.