The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has said that the performance audit of the Indo-Nepal border roads showed inadequacies. It said the construction of the 1,377-km-long Indo-Nepal border road, which began in 2010, is still 29 per cent complete.
In a report submitted to Parliament, the CAG noted that the government had started construction of roads along the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar (564 km), Uttar Pradesh (640 km) and Uttarakhand (173 km) in November 2010. 3,853 crore costing Rs.
The deadline to complete the project was March 2016, but was later extended to December 2022. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has released a total amount of Rs 1,709.17 crore to these states till March 31, 2021, the CAG said.
The delay was due to inadequacies in planning and financial management, poor contract management and execution of works. The delay also added to the cost.
On project planning and execution, the CAG noted that in West Champaran (Bihar), the proposed alignment, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in September 2010, was adjacent to the Indo-Nepal border (INB) touching Valmikinagar, which was home to wildlife. On the northernmost edge of the reserve area.
Though wildlife clearance was available under the single-window system for the border road, the Road Construction Department (RCD) did not apply for it, assuming that wildlife clearance would not be granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF). and changed the alignment (April 2011), said the CAG.
The alignment was shifted (April 2011) to the southern boundary (April 2011) of the wildlife reserve more than 20 km from the international border, stating that the relocation does not serve the purpose of the border road, as it is out of patrolling jurisdiction. is out. SSB, which guards the border.
As of March 2021, 363 BOPs (81 per cent) were off the main alignment of the proposed border road. Out of 363 BOPs, 125 BOPs were at a distance of 1 km to 20 km and 16 were at a distance of more than 20 km.
The CAG noted that no provision was made for providing connectivity to such BOPs away from the proposed border road.
Fifteen bridges were constructed in alignment of roads on the Indo-Nepal border in Bettiah (West Champaran district) of Bihar before August 2016.
After their construction, the alignment of the roads was changed by the RCD of Bihar, the CAG said, adding that there was no clarity on whether the bridges were connected to the revised alignment.
The audit team along with the engineers of RCD, Bettiah (West Champaran District) conducted joint physical verification of three reachable bridges and found that the bridges were incomplete and there was no connectivity road.
On financial management, the auditor observed that the utilization of funds was not properly managed as the MHA released funds to the states, though the unspent balances of the previous years were not utilized by the state governments.
This resulted in blockage of funds with the State Governments during 2013 to 2016. The Home Ministry sanctioned Rs 2.34 crore in Uttar Pradesh on unacceptable components like utility shifting and afforestation.
Further, the CAG said, the state government had spent or incurred a total of Rs 13.41 crore on unacceptable components.
The MHA did not account for the interest of Rs 36.74 crore earned by the state government on unutilized central funds. Besides, a total advance of Rs 136.60 crore for mobilization advance and equipment advance and interest is yet to be recovered from the contractors of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the CAG said, adding that due to the slow progress of construction of roads, the cost of the project was 21 blocks. 831.30 crore in Rs.
The CAG noted that in Uttar Pradesh, mandatory testing of samples at various road levels was not done as per norms, leading to a shortfall of 28 per cent and 91 per cent.
Besides, there was substantial shortfall in field inspections by the Chief Engineers and Superintending Engineers. This was fraught with risk of shoddy work, it said.