As many as 417 infrastructure projects, each entailing an investment of Rs 150 crore or more, have been hit by cost overruns of more than Rs 4.77 lakh crore in September 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 1,763 projects, 417 reported cost overruns and as many as 842 projects were delayed.
“Total original cost of implementation of the 1,763 projects was Rs 24,86,402.70 crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be Rs 29,64,345.13 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of Rs 4,77,942.43 crore (19.22 per cent of original cost),” the ministry’s latest report for September 2023 said.
According to the report, the expenditure incurred on these projects till September 2023 is Rs 15,44,600.67 crore, which is 52.11 per cent of the anticipated cost of the projects.
However, it stated that the number of delayed projects decreased to 617, if delay is calculated on the basis of the latest schedule of completion.
Further, it stated that for 298 projects neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported.
Out of the 842 delayed projects, 194 have overall delays in the range of 1-12 months, 190 have been delayed for 13-24 months, 323 projects for 25-60 months and 123 projects have been delayed for more than 60 months.
The average time overrun in these 842 delayed projects is 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.
Delay 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.