₹53,000 Crore Wasted due to Government Delays in Railway Projects

India currently has more than 345 railway projects underway. The aggregate loss to taxpayers due to delays could very well add up to ₹3 lakh crore.

The railway projects across the country are facing huge cost and time overruns. According to the data from the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, 30 railway projects currently underway across the country are facing cost-overruns of about ₹53,000 crore. Indian Railways currently have more than 345 projects underway. The aggregate loss to taxpayers due to delays could very well add up to ₹3 lakh crore.

These projects are mostly stuck due to problems in land acquisition and bureaucratic logjam. There are some examples where a project is delayed because the government failed to remove illegal encroachment from its own land.

A project under the North East Frontier Railway, Sevok Rangpo, is facing cost-overrun of ₹2745.21 crore and is delayed by over four years because the forest land clearance is not yet processed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Some projects are also stuck due to opposition from Naxalites and political organizations. Another project of North East Frontier Railways – New BG line from Byrnihat to Shillong, is delayed due to opposition from Khasi Students Union. The project is facing cost-overrun of ₹1916.98 crore.

Read more on government wastage

A lack of coordination between the Government of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh led to the cost overrun of Rs 2242.17 crore in railway project under Ramganjmundi-Bhopal (NL), Western Central Railway. The authorities are still waiting for replies from both the state governments regarding cost-sharing arrangements.

If only we had responsible politicians and public officials with a functional justice system, we could have saved ₹53,000 crore in these 30 projects alone. Used wisely, this amount would have provided –

1. Over 1,300 world class schools, each capable of serving 2,000 children annually.
2. 220 fully-equipped hospitals with 200 beds each.
3. Housing at ₹10,000 a month to 44 lakh families for one year.
4. More than 2,500 kilometres of four-lane national highways.
5. Nutritious food for a year for over 4.4 crore people.