Some rail projects delayed for two decades: Auditor


New Delhi : In a scathing attack on the functioning of Indian Railways, the country’s official auditor Friday said some projects for laying new lines in backward areas were languishing for as long as two decades with no certainty of completion.

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Five new line projects sanctioned more than 20 years ago, another nine approved between 15-20 years ago and given a nod between 1995 and 2000 remained incomplete as on March 31, 2010, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report to parliament.

“Once the works are undertaken, they should be completed within the shortest possible time to avoid cost and time overrun,” the report said, adding that these projects were incomplete despite a staggering Rs.8,549 crore being spent on them thus far.

“These also include five projects sanctioned five years ago. The balance funds required for completion would be of the order of Rs.16,800 crore,” said the report, noting that despite a standstill in these projects, funds continued to be made available.

Primarily holding the management responsible for delays, the report said other reasons included lack of coordination with state governments and even the union environment and forest ministry for getting site clearances, and inadequate overall planning.

The audit agency reported to parliament the progress pertaining to 50 new line projects in the most backward districts sanctioned over a decade ago. “The progress work being very slow, 18 of them were not expected to be completed within next ten years.”