As many as 384 infrastructure projects, each entailing an investment of Rs 150 crore or more, have been hit by cost overruns of more than Rs 4.66 lakh crore in January-March quarter, as per an official report.
According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which monitors infrastructure projects worth Rs 150 crore and above, out of 1,566 projects, 384 reported cost overruns and as many as 931 projects were delayed.
"Out of 1,566 projects, 384 projects were having the cost overruns of Rs 4,66,874.46 crore which is 21.59 per cent of their sanctioned cost," a quarterly report for January-March 2023 prepared by the ministry.
However, it stated that with regard to the latest approved cost, 285 projects had reported cost overruns of Rs 1,97,069.19 crore.
Further, it is noted that 259 projects are having both time and cost overruns.
The anticipated completion cost of these 1,566 projects is reported to be Rs 26,29,193.77 crore.
The total expenditure as on 31st March 2023 was Rs 14,71,873.93 crore which works out to 55.98 per cent of the total anticipated completion cost and 68.06 per cent of the original cost.
For these 1,566 projects, a total outlay of Rs 2,81,251.99 crore has been allocated for 2022-23.
The Quarterly Project Implementation Status Report (QPISR) on Central Sector Projects (costing Rs 150 crore and above) for the 4th quarter of 2022-23 (January-March 2023), contains detailed information on 1,566 projects covering 443 mega projects (each costing Rs 1,000 crore and above) and 1,123 major projects (each costing Rs 150 crore and above but below Rs 1,000 crore).
Out of 1,566 projects, 12 projects were ahead of schedule, 292 projects were on schedule, 931 projects were delayed with respect to the original schedule of completion.
Further, it stated that for 331 projects, either original or the anticipated date of completion was not reported.
The percentage of delayed projects had changed from 41.27 per cent in quarter ending March 2022 to 59.45 per cent in quarter ending March 2023, it stated.
The percentage of cost overrun had changed from 21.43 per cent in quarter ending March 2022 to 21.59 per cent in quarter ending March 2023, it also stated.
The major factors responsible for time overruns as ported by project implementing agencies include environment, forest and wildlife clearances; land acquisition issues; state-wise lockdown due to COVID-19 (imposed in 2020 and 2021); contractual issues and shifting of utilities.
While the cost overruns due to general price escalation could not be avoided, the cost escalation on account of delay could be minimised, it suggested.