This Report relates to matters arising from performance audit of selected programmes and activities and compliance audit of Government departments and autonomous bodies under the Economic Sector. The Report is divided into three chapters. Chapter I contains the Introduction and Chapter II the Performance Audit paragraph on ‘Quality control measures in maintenance of roads by Public Works Department’ and Chapter III includes a compliance audit paragraph on the functioning of Agency for development of aquaculture, Kerala and 11 other compliance audit paragraphs.
The Performance Audit was conducted to examine whether the system for implementing quality control measures was efficient during the execution of works and whether the quality control measures adopted in the maintenance of roads, including road and traffic safety, were adequate and effective. The Audit findings are grouped under (i) Quality Control, (ii) Quality Assurance and (iii) Maintenance, including road safety. Audit noticed that the mandatory quality control tests envisaged in the PWD Manual were not included in the tender and contract documents. The Department did not carry out road maintenance works as prescribed in the PWD Manual, Indian Road Congress (IRC)/MoRTH specifications and the Quality Control Manual. The Government of Kerala circumvented the Quality control tests stipulated by the MoRTH by restricting the cost of works. Field laboratories required to be set up by contractors at the site of works costing more than rupees two crore were not set up. There were deficiencies in the conduct of first and second tier quality control tests and in departmental supervision. The Department lacked proper monitoring mechanism to ensure that quality control tests were conducted during execution of works. The maintenance and renewal of roads were not prioritised as envisaged in the PWD Manual. The PWD Roads wing did not have a mechanism for timely detection and rectification of defects of roads. Lapses in arranging periodic renewal works resulted in severe damage to the carriageway, causing distress to the road users. Unsuitable methods were used in maintenance works.
The Agency for Development of Aquaculture, Kerala (the Agency) is an autonomous body functioning under the Department of Fisheries with the objective to promote aquaculture and other related activities. Audit noticed that the hatchery and farms functioning under the Agency did not comply with the regulatory requirements. Non-compliance of the Agency to the guidelines of Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) on culturing of Whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) contributed to the failure of two crops cultivated in the farm at Poyya. The Agency implemented the project ’Promotion of Rice cum Shrimp Farming in Kaipad Lands’ in the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 with the objectives of enhancing overall productivity of the wet land ecosystem, promotion of sustainable aquaculture practices, sustaining of paddy cultivation and increasing the per capita income of farmers. Non-adherence to the project guidelines resulted in the failure of the project, though a subsidy of Rs 1.22 crore was paid to the beneficiary groups. The Agency did not stock feeds under the recommended storage conditions and it retained and used of time expired feed. The Agency farmed genetically improved fishes violating the safeguards recommended by the Kerala State Bio-diversity Board (KSBB) raising potential risk to bio-diversity. The finalization and audit of annual accounts of the Agency was in arrears for the year 2014-15 onwards despite the displeasure expressed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) (2014-16) at the slackness in preparing the Annual Reports and Accounts. The Agency did not maintain the basic accounting records.