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Infrastructure project delay worries Centre

With crucial infrastructure projects hit by slow pace of work, programme implementation and statistics minister Sriprakash Jaiswal wants action against officials responsible for the delay.

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2010 01:24 IST
Chetan Chauhan

With crucial infrastructure projects hit by slow pace of work, programme implementation and statistics minister Sriprakash Jaiswal wants action against officials responsible for the delay.

As per the ministry's estimate, there had been an increase of up to 38% in the cost of more than 82 major projects because of delays.

"If there has been delay because of affordable reason, disciplinary action should be taken," Jaiswal said.

His ministry monitors all infrastructure projects undertaken by central government agencies, costing more than Rs150 crore.

Of the total 404, whose progress was reported online, delays have been reported in 82 projects, which is about 20%. "There have been slippages in the range of one to 24 months in projects relating to atomic energy, coal, steel, petroleum, power, railways and road transport sector," a ministry report submitted to cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, said.

As per the list provided, the worst has been the road transport and highways sector. Forty of the 122 projects whose progress reports were received reported additional delays. The prime reasons given are delay in the environment ministry's forest clearance, delay in land acquisition, slow progress of work by the contractor, inclement weather conditions and termination of the contract because of poor performance. "In some cases the ministry had been slow in getting the project take off despite clearances," an official said.

Another sector that had come under critical scrutiny of the ministry is petroleum, where 32% of the projects reported additional delays.

The main reason has been problems with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India's projects in Hazira and Mumbai. "Development of a new C-Series oil field near Mumbai got a huge blow due to sinking of a jacket in the sea during transportation. The delay reported is of five months," the report said.

The crucial transport sector had shown delays with cost overrun of more than 50 per cent. Railways had problems in in land acquisition and delay by contractors, whereas Bangalore Metro Rail reported delay of more than nine months because of unspecified reasons. Non-availability of fuel has caused a delay of two months in commissioning of two units at the Kaiga nuclear plant.

Jaiswal said the ministry officials have been asked to enforce high performance parameters for the infrastructure projects to ensure that the deadlines are met and cost overruns are minimised.