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The delays have led to costs rising by about 85%, or about Rs70,000 crore, over what had been estimated originally for these 103 projects, mainly roads, highways and railways. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
The delays have led to costs rising by about 85%, or about Rs70,000 crore, over what had been estimated originally for these 103 projects, mainly roads, highways and railways. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Many govt infra projects face delays

As many as 103 projects costing more than Rs150 crore each have been delayed by four to 20 years

New Delhi: As many as 103 Central government infrastructure projects costing more than Rs150 crore each have been delayed by four to 20 years, according to data compiled by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation until March. Eleven of these have been delayed by a decade or more.

The delays have led to costs rising by about 85%, or about Rs70,000 crore, over what had been estimated originally for these 103 projects, mainly roads, highways and railways.

This comes at a time when the 12th Five Year Plan envisages new infrastructure investment of about Rs56.3 trillion between 2012 and 2017 owing to the urgent need to upgrade India’s shoddy and inadequate roads, ports and utilities to boost flagging economic growth.

An example of the delay is the rail line between Howrah and Champadanga in West Bengal, which was planned in 1974 at a cost of Rs31 crore and is now expected to be completed in March 2015 at 16 times the original cost. Delays in land transfer from the state government were to blame, according to a 2006 Parliament answer by the then minister of state for railways Abani Roy.

Large projects delayed in sectors other than roads and railways include the Kudankulam Atomic Power Plant, more than four years behind schedule. The Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project has been delayed for more than six years.

Financial constraints, delayed land acquisitions, environmental and other clearances and contractual disputes were other reasons for “time overruns", the statistics ministry said in December.

As of January, 276 of 566 projects monitored reported delays, according to the Friday release. This is up from 258 of 566 projects mentioned in the December report.

The parliamentary standing committee on finance said in its report tabled on 22 April that the ministry should compile a report on delays for all projects, Central and state level, that cost Rs20 crore or more. It suggested the report be given to the country’s apex decision-making body, the National Development Council, to monitor the situation.

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