Although norms have been established by the railways
for selection of projects, including a minimum rate of return,
107 out of 133 projects were taken up despite being financially unviable. (Para 1.7.2)
At the present rate of funding the railways would require another 15 years
to complete the pending gauge conversion projects
and 38 years to complete the pending new line projects.
Despite this railways introduced 103 new projects during the last ten years.
In 71 projects even firm dates of commissioning were not projected. (Para 1.7.1)
Projects were sanctioned without adequate justification and decisions were taken during implementation
without keeping in mind the original objectives as a result of which the core objectives underlying the projects could not be achieved. (Para 1.8)
Uncertainties in project funding and inadequate project planning had an adverse impact on the efficiency of project implementation,
which resulted in non/delayed delivery of expected benefits. (Para 1.8)
Delays in preparation of detailed estimates, lack of co-ordination with State Governments for acquisition of land, insufficient delineation of the scope of projects,
deficiencies in contracts and store management and weak monitoring mechanism contributed to time and cost overruns in the selected projects. (Para 1.9)
Gist of recommendations
Railways should ensure that the systems and the norms established for selection of technically and financially viable projects are kept in view in future before any fresh projects are taken up.
Railways should work out a clear plan for completion of all the pending projects within a reasonable time frame.
The core objectives of the project should be distinctly enunciated and subsequent planning and decision-making should be aligned towards achievement of the stated objectives. 1 Report No.5 of 2006 (Railways)
Clear project schedules should be framed for the projects at the initial stages and completion dates determined. Budget allotments should be in accordance with the time frames set for completion.
Railways should plan the projects in a more comprehensive manner. The scope of the project, technical specifications, quantities and cost estimates should be accurately delineated on the basis of parameters brought out in technical surveys so as to ensure smoother project implementation within the estimated cost and time.
Railways need to strictly observe the codal provisions in planning and execution of projects. Risk areas such as land acquisition and estimation of materials and earthwork quantities need to be carefully controlled.
Railways need to evolve structures for closer monitoring of projects at the Ministry level. Strict observance of codal provisions for maintenance of information systems and documentation at the implementation level should be ensured.