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Why projects remain incomplete despite pomp

 Staff Reporter

Guwahati, April 7: Due to improper planning and lack of insight into the objectives to be accomplished, at least three departments of the Assam government are grappling with unfinished agendas, putting a mammoth sum of around Rs 1,100 crore at stake. The departments are PWD, Irrigation and Water Resources. The malaise has been on for several years. Some of the projects have been awaiting completion for the last three to five years, all at the cost of the public exchequer.
In general, the retrogressive approach to the projects envisaged with great pomp and show is such that only a small fraction of the sanctioned amount for a particular project is released in a particular fiscal, and when the next fiscal comes, the remaining amount does not get released as money goes out to other projects, as a result of which the project gets delayed except for foundation-laying ceremonies  and other rituals.
For instance, if an amount of Rs 10 crore is approved for a government building, then in the first fincial year, say, Rs 3 crore is released for the work to take off. In the next fincial year, the department has to move the Fince Department for the remaning amount. But it depends on the Fince Department as to whether it would release the remaining amount or not, regardless of the importance of the project. If money is not released, then the work remains in limbo. If this persists every other fiscal, the work remains incomplete. Hence the impediment to such projects.
As people can see virtually everywhere, there is a whole gamut of so-called development projects of whose only foundations have been laid or which are half-done or where grass has sprouted rather than any concrete work – all for lack of funds or other lacue on the part of the whole system. This is a systemic aberration, said an economist.
According to available official records, 156 PWD projects costing about Rs 880 crore, four Water Resources projects costing about Rs 168 crore, and Irrigation projects costing around Rs 94 crore are still incomplete in the State – they have remained incomplete for years together. If these projects are to be completed, the imminent fallout is cost escalation, which runs counter to the commonsense theory of fincial magement.
Therefore, it is imperative that the State government adopts a pragmatic and comprehensive policy to do away with such aberrations that counter the very doctrine of sound fincial magement, said a development expert.