483 infrastructure projects show cost overruns of ₹4.43 lakh crore

Delay in land acquisition, obtaining clearances and Covid-19 induced lockdowns have been cited as reasons for the overruns

As many as 483 infrastructure projects, each worth ₹150 crore or more, have been hit by cost overruns totalling more than ₹4.43 lakh crore, according to a report.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation monitors infrastructure projects worth ₹150 crore and above.

Of the 1,781 such projects, 483 reported cost overruns and 504 were delayed.

"Total original cost of implementation of the 1781 projects was ₹22,82,160.40 crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be ₹27,25,408.00 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of ₹4,43,247.60 crore (19.42% of original cost)," the Ministry’s latest report for July 2021 said.

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.

Further, 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.

According to the report, the expenditure incurred on these projects till July 2021 was ₹13,22,515.87 crore, or 48.53% of their anticipated cost.

However, the report said the number of delayed projects decreases to 369 if delay is calculated on the basis of the latest schedule of completion.

For 1,001 projects, neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported.

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

Out of the 504 delayed projects, 92 have overall delay in the range of 1-12 months, 118 have been delayed for 13-24 months, 178 for 25-60 months and 116 projects have delays of 61 months and above.

The average time overrun in these 504 delayed projects is 46.85 months.

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 underreported, it added.

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