Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 19:
All irrigation projects under the Water Resources department of the Odisha government – major, minor or lift – will be subject to third party audit for quality, according to a directive issued by the department.
The State Quality Monitoring Unit (SQMU) will be directly undertaking quality assessment/audit of the projects. The chief engineer in-charge of the unit will be required to submit a quality assessment report of projects to the government every month, said sources. Basing on the chief engineer’s report, action will be taken against the contractor or the concerned engineer who is found to be at fault, they added.
Despite appointment of a chief engineer and more than 15 officials for the purpose, projects worth thousands of crores undertaken by the department are not being subjected to quality assessment by the department. Though quality assessment reports have been submitted on some projects, the department failed to take action on them.
Queries and investigations by RTI activists on different projects implemented by the Water Resources department have taken the wind out of its sails. From officers to the Chief Minister, who himself holds the Water Resources portfolio, are literally sitting on a mountain of complaints on the quality of work in the projects. In order to put an end to it, the department has ordered a quality audit of all projects.
“Officials of the department who are responsible for conducting quality checks, will examine projects for seven days every month after dividing themselves into groups. The designated chief engineer will collect their reports and submit it to the government and the department will take the required action. It has been decided to start it from this month,” said Pradip Jena, principal secretary Water Resources department.
Every project will be examined for quality in line with the model followed for Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The team will examine projects in phases.
Special audits have been ordered for the Deo and Baghalati irrigation projects, the water respurces secretary said.
“On the issue of allegations of irregularities committed in the displacement process in the case of Deo irrigation project, the department has ordered a special audit, said Jena. The audit will be completed and the report submitted to the government within three weeks,” he said
Similarly, special audit has been ordered for Baghalati irrigation project in Ganjam district, in which there are allegations of wages being drawn against the names of fake beneficiaries, he added.