'Lack of transparency, no impact': CAG assails Fadnavis govt's flagship 'Jalyukt Shivar' scheme that spent Rs 9,634 cr to improve groundwater level

The 'JalyuktShivar' scheme, launched by the previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra, had little impact in achieving water neutrality and increasing groundwater level, and its execution was characterised by lack of transparency, a CAG report said on Tuesday.

A sum of Rs 9633.75 crore was spent on the scheme, a flagship programme of the Devendra Fadnavis government (2014- 19) that sought to make Maharashtra a drought-free state, said the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

The now scrapped project involved deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams, undertaking work on nullahs and digging of farm ponds.

There was lack of transparency in execution of works under the scheme and also inadequate monitoring and third party evaluation of works, the report said.

The CAG''s audit of the scheme was conducted between January 2019 and December 2019 and the report was submitted in June 2020.

Storage capacity created under the "Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan" was not sufficient to meet water requirements of the targeted beneficiaries, it said.

This shortage was due to less storage created than planned, it said.

The CAG report criticised the maintainence of the completed works, saying cess towards upkeep and repairs, as envisaged in the scheme, wasn''t collected.

The scheme was not successful in preventing decline of groundwater level inmany villages,thereby failing to achieve its main objective, it said.

Asked about the criticism, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP said, "The report was not an indictment."

The former chief minister, who oversaw its implementation, said the new government, led by the Shiv Sena, did not support the scheme after coming to power in November last year.

"It was a people''s scheme. The scheme would have been more successful had the (MVA) government not stopped it mid way," said Fadnavis.

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Free Press Journal