LAHORE - The provincial audit department has detected financial irregularities to the tune of little less than one billion rupees in the rehabilitation and modernisation project of Taunsa Barrage completed at a cost of Rs 11.23 billion.

This disclosure has been made in the audit report presented to Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa by Director General Audit Works Iftikhar Ahmad who called on him on Friday.

As per details, as listed in the audit report, Rs 502.38 million was spent in access of the estimated cost despite the fact that the same had already been revised in 2006 from Rs 7.79 billion to Rs 11.23 billion. An access payment amounting to Rs 206.140 million had to be made to the contractor due to deviation from the original plan in violation of rules. Similarly, a loss of Rs 33.66 million was caused to the exchequer due to non-preparation of rate analysis of non-scheduled items.

A sum of Rs 2.5 million was wasted due to non-deduction of rebate offered by the contractor, while an over payment made due to non-application of void factor cost the kitty Rs 6.938 million, according to the report.

It was observed during the audit that most of the irregularities were either due to weak technical, supervisory and financial control or poor contract management.

The DG audit has recommended that principal accounting officer needs to strengthen internal control regime in the department. He has also observed that the project met with serious failure of planning both at the initial as well as the execution stage. 

It may be recalled here that ECNEC had approved the project in December 2004, initially at a cost of Rs 7.796 billion, but the same was revised to Rs 11.23 billion in the year 2006. The World Bank had provided 13.107 Japanese yen to rehabilitate the structure of Taunsa Barrage damaged due to soil erosion. The said report covers the period from 2004-05 to 2009-10. The audit was completed in 2011.

It may be mentioned here that construction of Taunsa Barrage was completed in 1958 on Indus River to irrigate around 2 million acres of land in DG Khan, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh districts.

As per sources, the governor will write a letter in the next couple of days to the Punjab government asking it to present the audit report before the Public Accounts Committee of the Punjab Assembly for recovery of the amount spent in violation of rules.

The DG audit in his report has also recommended urgent steps to prevent failure of the Taunsa Barrage by improving its operational, maintenance and emergency preparedness capability.

In a related development, the DG Audit also presented a detailed study report to the governor regarding issuance and renewal of route permits in Punjab.

The report highlights some of the major issues concerning the matters pertaining to issuance of route permits without basic record and the fabrication and construction of bodies of CNG Auto Rickshaws without licenses. The report further sheds light on lacunae and violation of rules and regulations, functioning of transport without rationalization and classification of route, non-observance of procedure of cancellation and suspension on expiry of permit.

Audit finds irregularities

in Taunsa Barrage project