Himachal Pradesh government has come under sharp attack from Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for heavy cost and time overruns in execution of hydro-power projects, especially the 126 MW Larji and the 12 MW Khauli projects.
The CAG claimed that total cost overrun in case of the two hydel projects was of the order of Rs 1209.16 crore due to lack of coordination, change of design and award of works at high rates.
The Larji project located on Beas River in Kullu district was delayed for 125 months and completed at a cost of Rs 1293.69 crore. The envisaged per unit and per MW costs of 24.47 paise and Rs 1.34 crore increased to Rs 2.40 and Rs 10.27 crore respectively,which was perhaps the highest ever spent on a singe run of the river project, said the report.
The CAG has strongly recommended action against the officers, beside recovery of interest on the Rs 5.83 crore paid to contractors. It also suggested imposition of penalty of Rs 1.54 crore on the officers responsible for the mess.
Some of the reasons that cost the government dear are: delay in taking up construction works, change of design, non inclusion of some items in detailed project report, overpayment to favorite contractors, a total mismatch in construction activities of civil and electro-mechanical and high rates.
The project was approved in 1987 by the Planning Commission at a cost of Rs 168.85 crore but the actual work started in 1990-91 with a completion schedule of September 1996.The project was completed in October 2006. The CAG report has conveyed its strong displeasure to the government for not taking any action against the officers, who wasted hundreds of crores of public money.