The Hajipur-Sagauli New Line project, sanctioned in 2003-04 with an estimated cost of Rs 24.66 crore, saw a huge cost hike of Rs 2,066.78 crore in January 2019 due to the indecision of the Railway Administration, according to a Public Accounts Committee (PAC). ) report.
Tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the report titled ‘Loss due to indecision of railway administration in land acquisition matter: East Central Railway’ was based on one of the findings of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. of 2021.
After conducting a detailed review, the PAC noted that the railroads’ failure to make prudent decisions and timely payments resulted in avoidable additional expenses, underscoring the importance of meticulous financial planning and compliance with procurement policies. of lands.
“The Hajipur-Sagauli New Line project, sanctioned by the Ministry of Railways in 2003-04, suffered from a series of financial oversights and lapses in land acquisition processes, leading to significant cost increases,” the report said. .
“The project involves four districts of Bihar i.e. Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran and West Champaran,” he added.
As per the findings of the CAG audit, the project, as mentioned in the PAC report, initially estimated at Rs 24.66 crore, witnessed subsequent revisions, with a revised estimate and material amendment in January 2019. worth Rs 2,066.78 million.
“The Committee’s scrutiny has revealed a protracted and mismanaged land acquisition process in East Champaran. Despite repeated requests from the state authorities, the Railway Administration failed to deposit Rs 58.76 crore in 2006, considering it an amount exorbitant amount for the acquisition of 962.59 acres,” the report said. the report said.
According to the report, the railways initially cited the problem of insufficient availability of funds, which led to delays in payments for land acquisition.
The report emphasizes the need for the ministry to implement robust financial planning mechanisms in the future to avoid such drastic escalations and highlights the importance of timely allocation and disbursement of funds.
The PAC said it had observed discrepancies in the ministry’s responses regarding the reduction in land requirements and the consequent cost implications.
“Therefore, the Committee wants the Ministry to ensure consistency in its explanations and provide detailed justifications for changes in project parameters to maintain transparency and accountability,” the report said.
“The Committee observed a number of lapses and mismanagement in the land acquisition process, particularly in East Champaran. Therefore, the Committee recommends the Ministry to carry out a comprehensive review of the land acquisition procedures to ensure the compliance with land acquisition policies, avoiding delays, disputes, and cost increases in all future projects,” he added.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been modified by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
First published: February 8, 2024 | 09:46 IS