30 out of 51 projects facing time overruns from 2 months to 21 years: MOSPI

In a concerning trend, 11 multi-crore infrastructure projects in Jammu and Kashmir face a staggering cost overrun of Rs 41,965 crore.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), which oversees infrastructure projects worth Rs 150 crore and above, has revealed that 11 out of 51 projects in J&K are facing substantial cost overruns totalling Rs 41,965 crore.

This represents a 56 percent increase from the original estimated cost.

The initial implementation cost for all 51 projects was Rs 74,532 crore, but the anticipated completion cost has now ballooned to Rs 116,497 crore.

Time delays are equally concerning, with 30 out of the 51 projects experiencing setbacks ranging from 2 to 261 months (21 years, 9 months), according to MoSPI’s report.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway project is the most severe case, with a staggering cost overrun of 1,577 percent.

Originally envisioned in 1995 with an estimated cost of Rs 2500 crore, the project’s expenses have skyrocketed to over Rs 41,200 crore over the past 29 years.

Other critical infrastructure initiatives, including power development projects, AIIMS, and ring road constructions, face similar challenges of cost overruns or time delays.

The situation in J&K reflects a broader national trend.

Across India, 458 out of 1817 infrastructure projects, each valued at Rs 150 crore or more, have been hit by a combined cost overrun of more than Rs 5.71 lakh crore as of May 2024.

The total original cost of implementing these 1817 projects was Rs 27,58,567.23 crore, but the anticipated completion cost has risen to Rs 33,29,647.99 crore, reflecting an overall cost overrun of 20.70 percent.

As of May 2024, the expenditure incurred on these projects stands at Rs 1,707,190.15 crore, which is 51.3 percent of the anticipated cost.

While the number of delayed projects has decreased to 554 when calculated based on the latest completion schedule, the delays remain significant.

Of the 831 delayed projects nationwide, 245 face delays of 1 to 12 months, 188 are delayed by 13 to 24 months, 271 projects are behind by 25 to 60 months, and 127 projects are delayed by more than 60 months.

The average time overrun across these delayed projects is 35.1 months.

Project implementing agencies have cited various reasons for these time overruns, including challenges in land acquisition, difficulties in obtaining environmental clearances, financial constraints, contractual and internal disputes, manpower shortages, and legal complications.

These widespread delays and cost overruns underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive review of project planning, execution, and monitoring processes in J&K and across India.

As the government continues to prioritise infrastructure development as a key driver of economic growth, addressing these systemic issues will be crucial to ensure the timely and cost-effective completion of vital projects.

Stakeholders are calling for improved project management techniques, more realistic initial cost estimations, and better mechanisms to address common bottlenecks in the infrastructure development process

 

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