The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 15 , 2014
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CAG showers due blows

Bhubaneswar, July 14: The state government has failed to recover water and electricity compensation charges of Rs 9,503 crore from industrial houses, government agencies and other users, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

In its report on the economic sector, which was placed in the Assembly today, CAG stated water flow meters had not been installed in 282 industrial and commercial units of 427 organisations. “Even in industries where flow meters were installed, monthly reading were not taken by departmental officials,” the report stated.

The report mentioned that the water resources department was not implementing rules effectively to recover dues. Industrial houses continued drawing water without signing MoUs with the state government.

Citing an example, the report said a steel company started drawing 20 cusec of water from April 2007, but the agreement with the government was formalised in June 2008. Later from November 2008, water drawal was enhanced to 46 cusecs. Agreement was over in October 2010 and it was not renewed till August 2011. “For unauthorised water drawal from April 2007 to June 2008 and from October 2010 to August 2011, a penalty of Rs 149.85 crore was not levied,” the report stated.

Accountant general (AG) Amar Patnaik and principal AG S.S. Dhade told reporters that of 427 industrial and commercial organisations drawing water from irrigation and other government sources, 304 have not executed agreements, but no penal rent was imposed on them.

While the government has failed to realise the water dues from the industrial houses, it has also not been able to implement its flagship programme to provide minimum 35 per cent irrigation facilities to the cultivable land. The target for providing 35 per cent irrigation facilities was not achieved for 152 blocks.

During 2006-12, the water resources department could provide minimum 35 per cent irrigation to 46 blocks and the rest 152 blocks continue to have less than the minimum 35 per cent irrigation facility.

Besides, the government has also failed to provide assured supply of minimum drinking water in 95 of 105 urban local bodies. The water supply was less than the mandated level of 135 litres per person a day.

The CAG also revealed that the agriculture department had issued utilisation certificate for Rs 143.80 crore, though the amount remains unspent. “It points out fiscal impropriety,” said Patnaik. The report has also found fault with the state government in diversion of forestland in the state.