CAG finds irregularities in ‘Biju Setu’ Project in Odisha

TNI Bureau:According to the CAG assessment, which was presented to the state legislature on Friday, only 473 of the state government’s planned 793 bridge projects—or 59%—were actually finished between 2017 and 2021. In order to fill in all the gaps in rural roads, the state government introduced the programme in 2011.

Furthermore, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has identified a number of factors that have slowed the progress of the Odisha government’s Biju Setu Yojana (BSY), including a delay in the finalization of the tender, errors in the survey that forced changes to the design, an inability to resolve land issues, and a slow pace of work by contractors.

In contrast to the budgetary allocation of Rs 2,570 crore under BSY, the authorities could only spend Rs 2,255 crore. Despite spending Rs 184 crore, work on 48 bridge projects is still unfinished since the land needed for the bridge or its approach roads has not been acquired. In addition, the CAG noted that 82 projects required an additional expenditure of Rs 4.82 crore because manual excavation was permitted rather than mechanical excavation.

In addition, the report also made mention of inadequate work oversight by state quality monitors (SQM) and independent quality monitors (TPQM). Despite directives, the TPQM failed to check 80% of the bridge works while the SQM failed to inspect 96% of them.

In Bolangir district, a high-level bridge over the Suktel River was completed in September 2015 for a cost of Rs 7.58 crore. Cracks were observed in the deck as a result of the poorly executed and porous concrete construction. According to the audit report, the bridge fell in April 2020 when demolition work was being done, killing two people.

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The CAG also noted significant variations in how childcare institutions (CCI) in Odisha were operating. Inadequacies in the physical infrastructure, such as the dorms, dining rooms, kitchen, and open space, were discovered during the audit. In particular, the perimeter security walls in the CCIs’ security measures were inadequate.

According to another report, only 48 children (1.51%) out of the 3,181 children (boys: 1,695; girls: 1,486) in the CCIs of the eight test-checked districts were recognized for foster care, and only 11 (23%) of them were ultimately put in such care.

Cuttack, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Khudra, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, and Puri are among the test-checked districts.

According to the CAG report on the operation of working women’s hostels in Odisha, the average rate of occupancy in these hostels over the years 2016 to 21 was only 42% due to inadequate building upkeep, a lack of essential amenities, and ignorance. There were eight working women’s hostels in the state, totaling 603 beds, but they were being used for other things.

The state assembly’s winter session, meanwhile, ended sine die on Friday. The meeting, which began on November 24, was supposed to last until December 31.

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