Railways Seek Report on Cost Overrun in Projects

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Struggling to get funds for completion of its pending projects, Indian Railways has now sought a report from all zonal railways about measures taken for bringing about economy in constructions and keeping land acquisition bare minimum in projects completed so far.

Guidelines were issued for taking economic measures and avoiding time over run during construction stage in 77 doubling, 2 new lines and one gauge conversion project announced in budget last year. Railways has found that due diligence was not done to bring about economy in construction in some projects.

As per the guidelines, all efforts were to be made to keep the land acquisition to bare minimum and should be resorted to as an exception only when it is not feasible to take other measures.

Railway is now doing an assessment of measures taken to save the money and time and how it has benefited the progress of projects.

“The land requirement must have been reviewed by the railways and progress achieved in the matter is to be reviewed now. A detailed project wise report regarding economy achieved and land acquisition avoided may be submitted to the Railway Board,” said an order issued by the board on April 12.

The guidelines called for taking efforts like in case of bridges, it should be ensured that doubling, tripling line are laid on straight alignment and not on diversion and possibility of further reduction in acquisition may also be explored by way of providing teo/retaining wall.

Concerned over cost escalation, Railway Board had also pulled up officials asking them to take utmost care while preparing estimates for the projects to ensure that infructuous items are not loaded on the project. It said that Railways should attach a certificate in this regard duly signed by the respective heads.

According to railways, since the funds to be utilized for these projects will be raised through loans from market, utmost care needs to be taken while preparing detailed estimates and it should be ensured that only those items that are directly connected to the proposed works are included in the estimate.

Railway has been banking upon extra budgetary support to complete its pending project. It is looking at extra budgetary monetary support of Rs 8.5 lakh crore during 2015-18 and the Life Insurance Corporation of Indian (LIC) has already pledged Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next five years.

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