The performance audit of the Indo-Nepal border roads project between 2010-2018-19 brought out inadequacies in planning and financial management, which, coupled with poor contract management and execution of works led to undue delays and cost enhancement.
In a report submitted to the Parliament, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said that the Central government in November 2010 took up the construction of 1,377 km of roads along the Indo-Nepal Border in Bihar (564 km), Uttar Pradesh (640 km) and Uttarakhand (173 km) at a cost of Rs 3,853 crore.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released the funds aggregating Rs 1,709.17 crore to these states as of March 31, 2021. The timeline for completion of the project was March 2016, but it was subsequently extended to December 2022.
On project planning and execution, the CAG said that in West Champaran (Bihar), the proposed alignment approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in September 2010 was in proximity with the India-Nepal Border (INB) touching Valmikinagar, which was on the north-ernmost side of the wild life reserve area.
Although the wildlife clearance under single window system was available for the border road, presuming that wildlife clearance would not be given by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), Road Construction Department (RCD) did not apply for the same and changed the alignment (April 2011), the CAG said.
The alignment was shifted to the southernmost boundary (April 2011) of the wildlife reserve area more than 20 km away from the international border, it said, adding the shifting did not serve the purpose of the border road, as it was beyond the patrolling jurisdiction of the SSB, which guards the border.
As of March 2021, 363 BOPS (81 percent) were away from the main alignment of the proposed border road. Out of 363 BOPs, 125 BOPS were away at a distance of ranging one km to 20 km and 16 were away at a distance of more than 20 km. No provision was made to provide connectivity to such BOPS which were away from the proposed border road, the CAG observed.