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Cost overruns and delays plague over 1,800 infrastructure projects; 449 projects see overruns of Rs 5.01 lakh crore

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NEW DELHI : The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) report on infrastructure projects revealed that 449 infrastructure projects, each with investments exceeding Rs 150 crore, suffered cost overruns totalling over Rs 5.01 lakh crore by March 2024. The Ministry also stated that out of 1,873 initiatives, 449 experienced cost overruns, and 779 faced delays.

The original cost of these projects amounted to Rs 26,87,535.69 crore. However, their anticipated completion cost soared to Rs 31,88,859.02 crore, indicating an overall overrun of Rs 5,01,323.33 crore (18.65% of the original cost) as per the ministry’s March 2024 report. By March 2024, Rs 17,11,648.99 crore had been expended on these projects, constituting 53.68% of the anticipated costs.

While the number of delayed projects decreased to 567 based on the latest completion schedule, 393 projects lacked reported commissioning years or tentative gestation periods. Of the delayed projects, 202 faced delays of 1-12 months, 181 were delayed for 13-24 months, 277 suffered delays of 25-60 months, and 119 experienced delays exceeding 60 months, with an average time overrun of 36.04 months.

The reasons for these delays, as cited by project implementing agencies, include land acquisition delays, forest and environment clearance issues, and insufficient infrastructure support. Other factors contributing to delays encompassed financing tie-ups, engineering finalizations, scope alterations, and logistical challenges.

Additionally, state-wide COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 were identified as impeding project progress. The report also highlighted discrepancies in reporting revised cost estimates and commissioning schedules by project executing agencies, suggesting potential under-reporting of time/cost overruns.

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