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J&K’s 27 mega central govt projects move at snail’s pace, face cost overrun of 72 pc

Attribute it to law and order problem, and administrative red tape, timely execution of mega infrastructural projects under central sector has remained a casualty in Jammu and Kashmir as at-least 27 important projects worth Rs.150 crore and above each have recorded over 72 percent cost overrun while jumping their respective deadlines up to 20 years.

According to the 443rd flash report on central sector projects for the month of October 2022, as many as 27 projects having original cost of Rs.47,696.67 crore had been facing cost overrun of 72 percent as they are now expected to be completed with an anticipated cost of Rs.82,076.18 crore.

“Out of these projects, nine projects with original execution cost Rs.16,439.47 crore have been facing time overrun ranging from eight months to 247 months (more than 20 years) and the anticipated execution is now Rs.50,951.73 crore,” it revealed.

It stated that at-least 13 projects with original cost of Rs.1,000 crore and above each had been witnessing a cost overrun of 82.31 percent. These projects were expected to be completed with an original cost of Rs.41,767.84 crore which has now been revised to Rs.76,147.35 crore. Four such projects have missed deadlines by 4 years to 20 years.

If one goes through the report, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL), one of the biggest projects in the construction of a mountain railway since independence, has been delayed by more than 20 years, resulting in cost overrun of over Rs.34,500 crore.

“The original cost of the project was just Rs.2,500 when it was approved in March 1995 but the cost of the project has escalated to Rs.37,061.06 crore with expected date of commissioning in April 2023,” it stated, adding the major reasons for inordinate delay in execution of projects were “law and order issues” and “ban on mining of minor aggregates in UT of J&K from November 2019”.

Another important project was the establishment of AIIMS at Awantipora in Kashmir. The project was approved with an estimated cost of Rs.1828 crore in March 2019 but the executing agency has spent just Rs 303 crore till date.

The vital 1000-MW Pakal Dul Hydro-electric Project, being executed by Chenab Valley Power Projects [P] Limited was approved way back in October 2014 and it was expected to be completed by April 2020 but several reasons led to inordinate delay in its completion within stipulated time frame. “Signing of PPA for 1000MW Pakal Dul hydroelectric projects is pending with J&K government,” was the reason cited by the report behind its delay.

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