President directs CAG to audit JICA project

Cuttack: President Pranab Mukherjee has asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to initiate an audit of the funding and implementation of the sewerage and drainage project being undertaken here with financial aid from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The direction from Mukherjee’s office followed a complaint from Oriya Yuva Manch (OYM) drawing attention to the inordinate delay in implementation of the project as well as low quality works.

In the memorandum, OYM president Rohan Mohanty had appealed for an audit of the project that has undergone substantial cost escalation from the original estimate of Rs 1200 crore to Rs 1300 crore to Rs 1950 crore in 2013-14.

Even as two years have lapsed since the MoU was signed in 2013-14, only 30 to 35 per cent work has been completed. The quality of works, particularly in Cuttack, is demonstratively poor, raising questions over the longevity and sustainability of the sewerage system, the petition read.

It further said there is no clarity on the repayment pattern by the government and it is stated that it would be raised from the residents.

The JICA project involves construction of an integrated sewerage system with underground gravity sewer line of 375 km covering entire Cuttack. Besides, 29 pumping stations and three sewage treatment plants would also be set up. It also entails a complete revamp of the two main storm water channels (MSWCs) covering a length of 23 km.