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CAG flags deficiencies in canal maintenance projects in Gujarat

Ahmedabad: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report tabled in the Gujarat Assembly, has pointed out several deficiencies in the maintenance work of irrigation canals in the state.

As per the report, these deficiencies include not conducting regular inspection of canals and not undertaking evaluation study to assess the efficiency of the works carried out by the state Water Resources Department.

The CAG report on 'Economic Sector' for the year that ended on March 31, 2018 was tabled in the state Assembly on Wednesday, the last day of the session.

In the report, the national auditor cited 'Water Audit' study conducted by an agency named WAPCOS for the Water Resources Department. The study was meant to evaluate the performance of the Sabarmati Reservoir project and its canal network.

In its report submitted to the government in February 2018, WAPCOS had said that the "performance of the project was not good".

It further said that as against the total irrigation potential, the "utilisation during the last 15 years was just 31.42 per cent".

"Distribution system of the project was not in good condition and 50 per cent of the minor and sub-minor canals suffered from issues like weed growth, silting, damaged outlets and damaged linings. Non-functional canals were also observed either partly or fully," the CAG report said, quoting the Water Audit.

It also noted that despite spending Rs 39.24 crore on the extension, renovation and modernisation (ERM) works, there were "many deficiencies in the canal system".

"No such study was conducted for other canal networks in the state to evaluate the effectiveness of the ERM works," it said.

"In nine out of ten test-checked divisions of canal network in the state, pre-monsoon and post-monsoon inspections were not conducted regularly," the CAG said, adding that canal structures were found damaged at some places even after the execution of ERM works.

During some site visits, the national auditor found mud accumulation and vegetation in canals, along with damaged linings at some places.

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