As many as 411 infrastructure projects, each entailing an investment of Rs 150 crore or more, have been hit by cost overruns of more than Rs 4.31 lakh crore in October this year, an official report said.
According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which monitors infrastructure projects worth Rs 150 crore and above, out of 1,788 projects, 411 reported cost overruns and 837 projects were delayed.
"Total original cost of implementation of the 1,788 projects was Rs 24,78,446.60 crore, and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be Rs 29,09,526.63 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of Rs 4,31,080.03 crore (17.39 percent of original cost)," the ministry’s latest report for October 2023 said.
According to the report, the expenditure incurred on these projects till October 2023 was Rs 15,27,102.91 crore, which is 52.49 percent of the anticipated cost of the projects. However, it stated that the number of delayed projects decreases to 628 if the delay is calculated on the basis of the latest schedule of completion.
Further, it said that for 290 projects, neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported. Out of the 837 delayed projects, 202 have overall delays in the range of 1-12 months, 188 have been delayed for 13-24 months, 324 projects for 25-60 months, and 123 projects have been delayed for more than 60 months. The average time overrun in these 837 delayed projects was 36.94 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. Delays in tie-up for project financing, finalisation of detailed engineering, change in scope, tendering, ordering and equipment supply, and law and order problems were among the other reasons.
The report also cited state-wise lockdowns due to COVID-19 (imposed in 2020 and 2021) as a reason for the delay in implementation of these projects. "It has also been observed that project executing agencies are not reporting revised cost estimates and commissioning schedules for many projects, which suggests that time/cost overrun figures are under-reported," it added.