Friday, Apr 05, 2002
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By T.S. Ranganna
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Civil) report for the year ended March 31, 2001, as many as 5,728 habitations were affected by excess fluoride, 4,309 by brackishness, 4,064 by excess nitrate, and 6,359 by excess iron in water. In Gulbarga and Tumkur districts, 1.29 lakh people who used water contaminated by excess fluoride fell ill.
As many as 3.11 crore people in the State were covered under the mission, and Rs. 1,593 crore was spent. As many as 22,980 habitations, accounting for 41 per cent of the population, were only partially brought under the mission.
The prescribed 40 litres of water per capita was not made available to 50 per cent of the habitations. The Government also failed to ensure regular supply of water throughout the year to 62 per cent of the habitations.
The operation and maintenance of equipment made available for piped water supply and mini-water supply schemes, and borewells fitted with handpumps were neglected as adequate staff was not deployed. There was no community participation in the mission water and sanitation committees were not formed, and the assets were not maintained by the community, the report has said.
The failures on the part of the State Government resulted in it losing Central assistance of Rs. 67.81 crore due to the shortfall in expenditure on rural water supply schemes under the State sector, and excess carryover of unutilised funds from the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP).
The expenditure of Rs. 30.54 crore, with cost overrun in schemes and excess expenditure on operation and maintenance, was wrongly met out of the funds provided. It said that the execution of 267 piped water supply schemes and 314 mini water supply schemes in areas which were covered under other projects, by the engineering divisions of nine zilla panchayats at a cost of Rs. 13.01 crore in 1997-2001, was irregular. More than 270 water supply schemes in the engineering divisions of 12 zilla panchayats, on which Rs. 9.70 crore was spent, remained non-functional (in March 2001), as power connection was not given even though the civil works had been completed years ago.
Monitoring of the implementation of the schemes suffered because the State Government constituted high-level and empowered committees only in January 2000. In three out of seven districts, only the achievement of physical and financial targets was monitored.
The CAG said the Government failed to release a "matching grant" of Rs. 17.38 crore for the ARWSP, and used the Central assistance after a delay of between five and 34 months. This came in the way of the implementation of the schemes, and only eight out of 25 were completed.
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