This report contains two Performance Audits i.e. performance audit on Contract Management of Road Works in Public Works Department and performance audit on Protection of Forest and Wildlife in Rajasthan, a compliance audit on Implementation of Rajasthan Farmers Participation in Management of Irrigation Systems Act, 2000 and six individual paragraphs.
Contract Management of Road Works in Public Works Department
The existing framework of rules has gaps and is not consistent with best practices. The Department lacks a comprehensive implementation plan incorporating suitable provisions for prioritization of road works. There were instances where basic norms for cost estimation were not adhered to, tenders were invited before issue of technical sanctions, contractors not meeting the minimum technical requirements were allowed to participate in tenders, etc. Cases of violations of Indian Road Congress (IRC) specifications and norms were noticed in designing of roads and their construction such as non-conducting traffic census, wrong calculation of Million Standard Axle, non-testing of California Bearing Ratio of soil, etc. Policy objective of ensuring environmental protection through extensive plantation along the roads was not achieved. Many road projects were delayed, however, liquidated damages from the contractors in most of the cases were not recovered attributing the reasons for delay on the part of the Department without justified grounds. Price Variation claims were not calculated correctly, thereby, undue benefit was extended to contractors. Quality testing in road works was not being carried out properly in many divisions. Payments to contractors were being made without ensuring receipt of quality test reports.
Protection of Forest and Wildlife in Rajasthan
Although the Department has taken certain proactive steps which have culminated in increase in number of tigers in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, creation of a new biological park at Machiya, Jodhpur, initiation of Leopard Safari at Jhalana, Jaipur and development of park at Nahargarh, measures still need to be taken for enhancing protection of Forest and Wildlife in the State. The working plans for the Forest Divisions were not being implemented properly due to budget constraints. The Department submitted incomplete proposals for formation of Eco-Sensitive Zone which resulted in delay in their notifications. State Level Inter-Agency Coordination Committee as well as Wildlife Crime Control Units were not constituted despite directions received from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. Concrete action has not been taken by the Department for removal of commercial shops/ activities which are operating in the Sariska Tiger Reserve without approval of National Board of Wildlife. Work of outlining of forest land on revenue maps, its mutation and demarcation through boundary pillars and digitization of forest maps has been very slow. Sampled divisions did not use satellite imagery system to trace forest areas affected by illegal mining. Human Resource Management was weak in the Department with significant vacancies in cadre of protection, technical and field supervisory staff.
Implementation of Rajasthan Farmers Participation in Management of Irrigation Systems Act, 2000
The Apex Committee for laying down the policies for implementation of the Rajasthan Farmers Participation in Management of Irrigation Systems Act has not been constituted. In selected 18 divisions, against the target of 867 Water Users Associations (WUAs), only 519 WUAs were formed in 16 divisions while WUAs were not formed in two divisions. There were significant shortfalls in formation of Distributary Committees and Project Committees for various projects.
Out of 16 divisions where WUAs were constituted, WUAs in 11 divisions were not performing its mandated functions. The functioning of WUAs was unsatisfactory in the test-checked four divisions as only 26.26 per cent of total demand of the water charges from farmers were collected during 2015-16 to 2017-18. Financial Management and accounting systems in WUAs were poor as prescribed guidelines were not followed.
Elections were not conducted after the expiry of regular tenure of five years. Monitoring system at the Departmental level was non-existent. The cell to monitor the activities relating to PIM was not constituted and Performance Measurement Criteria were not adopted to evaluate the functioning of the WUAs.