401 infra projects incur cost overruns of Rs 4.06 lakh cr: Govt report

New Delhi: There have been cost overruns of more than Rs 4.06 lakh crore in 401 infrastructure projects in the country. The cost overruns have been due to delays and various other reasons, according to a government report. 

Of the 1,701 infra projects monitored by The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 401 projects costing Rs 150 crore ore more have seen cost overruns, according to a report by the Ministry.

Another 583 projects have see time overruns. 

"Total original cost of implementation of the 1701 projects was Rs 20,65,739.00 crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be Rs 24,71,954.78 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of Rs 4,06,215.78 crore (19.66 per cent of original cost)," said the Ministry in its report.

The total money spent on these projects till end of 2019 was Rs 10,89,178.11 crore. This is about 44 percent of the expected cost of the projects, the Minister said in its latest report dated December 2019.

Interestingly, 748 projects have neither reported year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period. 

Of the 583 delayed projects, there has been a delay of 1-12 months in 183 projects. There has been a delay of 13-24 months in 129 projects and a delay of 25-60 months in 146 projects. 125 projects have a delay of more than 60 months. The average time overrun in these 583 delayed projects is 39.40 months.

The causes of time overruns are delays in forest clearance, land acquisition and equipment supply, as reported by the project commissioning agencies. 

There are also reasons like geological surprises, fund constraints and slower-than-expected progress in civil works. The paucity of labour has also emerged as one of the reasons for delay.

The Ministry has also noted in its report the project commissioning agencies are not even reporting revised cost estimates and new or revised schedules for many of the infra projects. Thus there can be under reporting of time and cost overruns.