Cost overrun of nearly Rs 26,000 cr in Northern Railways, PGCIL projects
JAMMU, June 20: Unbelievable it may sound but it is a fact that over Rs 40,000 crore worth Central sector projects in Jammu and Kashmir are facing time overrun of one to 16 years due to slackness on the part of executing authorities and lack of coordination between State and Central Government agencies. Of these projects, two are even facing cost overrun of nearly Rs 26,000 crore.
As per the data of the Central Government, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR, seven projects costing Rs 150 crore and above are under execution in Jammu and Kashmir during the past several years and most of them are facing time overrun because of slow pace of work, lack of coordination between State and Central agencies and failure of the State Government to resolve the issues creating impediments in giving necessary impetus to their execution.
These seven projects are 1000 Mega Watt Pakal Dul Hydroelectric Project, Transmission System associated with Alusteng (Srinagar)-Drass-Kargil-Khalsti-Leh Project, Udhampur-Baramulla Railway Line, Qazigund-Banihal road project, four-laning of Udhampur-Ramban section of National Highway 1A, stand alone ring roads and four laning of Ramban-Banihal section of National Highway 1A.
Of these, four projects—Pakal Dul Hydroelectric Project, Transmission System Associated with Alusteng (Srinagar)-Drass-Kargil-Khalsti-Leh Project, Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line and Qazigund-Banihal road project have been facing time overrun of one to 16 years.
As far as Pakal Dul Hydroelectric Project, which was approved in October 2014 at a cost of Rs 8112,12 crore, is concerned, the original date of commissioning is April 2020 but because of slow pace of work it is anticipated that the project will be completed not prior to October 2023.
Due to this, the project of immense importance for the State is facing time overrun of 42 months. Against original cost of Rs 8112.12 crore, only an expenditure of Rs 895.22 crore has been incurred so far by Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Limited, which has been entrusted the task of executing the project.
Similarly, Transmission System associated with Alusteng (Srinagar)-Drass-Kargil-Leh project, which was approved in January 2014, is facing time overrun of 12 months as original date of commissioning was September 2017 and now it is anticipated that the project will be completed in all respects in September this year.
On the project, which is being executed by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, an amount of Rs 1223.54 crore has been expended against the original cost of Rs 1788.41 crore till current financial year.
Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway line project being executed by Northern Railways is the worst example of slackness and dilly-dallying approach as it is facing time overrun of 193 months. The project was approved in 1995 at a cost of Rs 2500 crore and was to be completed in all respects in November 2002.
However, the project faced many difficulties and finally Srinagar-Baramulla-Banihal and Udhampur-Katra sections were thrown open for normal train traffic.
Now, it is anticipated that left-over Katra-Banihal section of this project will be completed by ending this year. However, as per the sources privy to the developments vis-à-vis this section even this deadline is unlikely to be met by the project executing agency. The cost of the entire project has increased to Rs 27946 crore against which an expenditure of Rs 16131.46 crore has been made till date.
Qazigund-Banihal road project being executed by National Highways Authority of India is facing time overrun of 44 months as the project which was approved in July 2010 was to be completed by July 2015. Now, it is claimed that the project will be completed by March 2019.
As per the data of the Central Government, Transmission System associated with Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh Project is facing cost overrun of Rs 545 crore while as Northern Railways Project is facing cost overrun of Rs 25446 crore.
“Had there been no slackness on the part of executing agencies and proper coordination between State and Central agencies was ensured the time and cost overrun could have been easily avoided”, sources said, adding “no doubt it was the responsibility of executing agencies and the concerned Ministries of the Union Government to ensure speedy work on these projects, the State Government was too having a role of resolving the local issues and facilitating early transfer of land, which generally faced inordinate delay in all these projects”.