PAC raps Railways for delay in various ongoing projects

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New Delhi, Dec 1 (UNI) The Public Accounts Committee has expressed its displeasure over undue delay in completion of various Railway projects which had resulted in cost overruns.

The PAC, headed by Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra, in its 61st report presented to the Lok Sabha today, also noted that out of 133 ongoing gauge conversion and new line projects that were taken up on various commercial and socio-economic considerations, 46 projects had negative rate of return and 61 projects were unremunerative and had rate of return less than the prescribed rate.

It said this showed that 107 out of 133 projects were taken up by the Railways depite being financially unviable.

The report revealed that 149 ongoing gauge conversion and new line projects, included in works programme 2005-06, had an estimated cost of Rs 39,287.13 crore which was revised time and again due to delay in completion and was now estimated at Rs 54,716.5 crore.

Moreover, in 105 projects, the progress was less than 50 per cent.

Due to delay in completion, the cost of the projects which were more than 10 years old had increased three times from Rs 5,700 crore to Rs 17,300 crore, it noted.

It regretted that the Railways had allocated only a meagre amount of Rs 690 crore and Rs 652 crore on guage conversion and new line projects respectively and with this rate of funding it would take another 15 years to complete the pending projects.

The committee expressed its reservation over the progress of the projects under category I and II which were to be completed in one-two years.

For projects under socio-economic consideration, the committee said although they were ''well intended'', but thin spread of resources or due to lack of funds led to abnormal delay in these projects ranging from five years to 20 years. As a result, cost overruns thereby were defeating the very purpose of their commencement.

''This had resulted not only in sheer wastage of public money but also deprived other operationaly important and commercially viable projects of the much-needed funds for their early completion,'' the Committee observed.

It called for comprehensive planning of Railway projects to ensure smoother project implementation within estimated cost and time.

UNI

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