Thursday, July 25, 2013

Delay in projects causes costs to skyrocket

Karanja and Varahi irrigation projects are yet to be completed

The cost of two irrigation projects in the State have escalated more than 60 times due to the inordinate delay in their implementation.

The total cost of the Karanja Project in Bidar was estimated to be only Rs. 9.9 crore when its implementation commenced in 1970-71. Though four decades have passed, it has not been completed. This has not only prevented farmers from getting irrigation benefits, but has also caused a burden on the State exchequer as the project cost has now escalated to Rs. 635.18 crore. This was revealed by Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil in the Legislative Council on Wednesday. The project, which was envisaged to provide irrigation benefits to 35,614 hectares of land, now only irrigates 22,793 hectares even after 42 years of commencement of works. The Minister assured the House of completing the pending work in about 18 months.

As if the delay in implementation was not enough, the Karanja project has also been embroiled in scams, with the Minister himself admitting that there are 20 instances of irregularities.

Similarly, the cost of Varahi irrigation project in Udupi district, the work on which started in 1979, has increased from Rs. 9.43 crore to Rs. 569.56 crore due to delays. The project has been able to irrigate only 670 hectares as against the target of 15,702 hectares. He assured the House of completing the project by 2014-15.