423 infra projects show cost overruns of Rs 4.95 lakh cr

As many as 423 infrastructure projects, each entailing an investment of Rs 150 crore or more, have been hit by cost overruns of more than Rs 4.95 lakh crore, as per a report.

According to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which monitors infrastructure projects of Rs 150 crore and above, out of 1,568 projects, 423 reported cost overruns and as many as 721 projects were delayed.

“Total original cost of implementation of the 1,568 projects was Rs 21,59,802.67 crore and their anticipated completion cost is …Rs 26,54,818.05 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of Rs 4,95,015.38 crore (22.92 per cent of original cost),” the ministry’s latest report for May 2022 said.

According to the report, the expenditure incurred on these projects till May 2022 is Rs 13,42,535.22 crore, which is 50.57 per cent of the anticipated cost of the projects.

However, the number of delayed projects decreases to 563 if delay is calculated on the basis of the latest schedule of completion.

Further, it showed that for 569 projects, neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported.

Out of the 721 delayed projects, 113 have overall delays in the range of 1-12 months, 121 have been delayed for 13-24 months, 350 projects for 25-60 months and 137 projects have been delayed for 61 months and above.

The average time overrun in these 721 delayed projects is 43.34 months.

Reasons for time overruns as reported by various project implementing agencies include delay in land acquisition, delay in obtaining forest and environment clearances, and lack of infrastructure support and linkages.

Delay in tie-up for project financing, delay in finalisation of detailed engineering, change in scope, delay in tendering, ordering and equipment supply, and law and order problems are among the other reasons.

The report also cited state-wise lockdowns due to COVID-19 as a reason for the delay in implementation of these projects.

It has also been observed that project agencies are not reporting revised cost estimates and commissioning schedules for many projects, which suggests that time/cost overrun figures are under-reported, it stated.

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