NEW DELHI: Delays in the execution of 442 projects for up to 16 years resulted in a cost overrun of Rs 1.07 lakh crore and a throw-forward of 1.86 lakh crore, said a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report tabled in Parliament on Friday. The report said that out of 442 ongoing projects, targets for completion were fixed only for 156 projects.
“Target dates for the completion of the projects were either not fixed or not available on the records of the Railway administration. The physical progress was also slow where target for completion of project was fixed,” said the report.
The CAG pointed out that projects were announced based on social obligation without keeping in mind their economic implications. “Out of 442 projects, the rate of return in respect of 236 was less than the prescribed benchmark of 14 percent, and 126 of them had a negative rate of return. Out of 28 high-priority projects checked, the physical progress of seven was less than or up to 10 percent and in respect of three of them, there was no physical progress,” the report further said.
Noting that during 2009-14, 202 projects were added to the existing shelf of ongoing projects, ignoring existing fund constraints, and as a result only 67 projects were completed during the period.
Deficient planning resulted in change in design and the diversion of alignment, causing the avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 369 crore and there was a lack of consistency in the prioritisation of projects.
The apex auditor of the country observed that 75 projects have been going on for more than 15 years, and of them, three projects are 30 years old. Despite budgetary support from the Ministry of Finance, the progress of national projects was far from satisfactory, resulting in substantial time and cost overruns.
The CAG also criticised the progress of 11 national projects, saying that three projects were going on for more than 17 years and the remaining eight projects for periods ranging from four to 11 years.
The physical progress of seven national projects ranged between 0 and 34 percent and the original cost of these seven projects increased substantially from Rs 7,651.23 crore to Rs 2,0313.75 crore (265 per cent).