New Delhi: Railway Minister Mukul Roy who has expressed concern over tardy progress of various rail projects soon after taking charge, chaired a high-level meeting recently to ascertain the cause of the delay and is understood to have emphasised on expediting work.
Roy after taking over from Dinesh Trivedi has also written to Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal over the delay in crucial rail projects and had sought to know the reasons and the status of projects.
The development comes about a week after Roy said that the work has slowed down especially during the last eight to nine months apparently making a veiled attack on his predecessor, who is also a fellow party leader.
The Railway Minister is also believed to have reviewed the overall performance of the ministry during the last eight months under Trivedi`s tenure.
"There was delay in execution of certain rail projects. The pace of the execution was slow in the last eight to nine months," Roy had told reporters on March 30. Trivedi was the Railway Minister during this period.
During the meeting attended by the Railway Board members, Roy is understood to have reviewed the progress of some big ticket projects like Kanchrapara rail coach factory in West Bengal, Marohra and Madhepura locomotive factories in Bihar.
Delay in execution of a number of key railway projects has resulted in cost overruns of more than 100 percent, according to the latest government data.
According to the data of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the total original cost of implementation of 132 delayed rail projects is of the order of Rs 65,054.70 crore and their anticipated completion cost is Rs 134,133.50 crore which reflects a cost overrun of more than 106 per cent.
The expenditure incurred on these projects till December 2011 was Rs 56,395 crore, as per the data.
Roy is of the view that availability of funds is not the reason for these delays.
He is also of the opinion that the government`s flagship programmes like MNREGA could as well be explored in railways especially for construction of road overbridges (ROB) and road underbridges (ROB) at level crossings.
There are 14,896 unmanned level crossings and 17,839 manned level crossings across the country. Maximum number of train accidents take place at unmanned level crossings.
The work in the proposed Rs 250 crore Kanchrapara coach manufacturing factory has made little progress since the project was announced in July 2009 by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
The work in the Kanchrapara factory seems to be going nowhere with the files related to the project shuttling between two directorates of railways.
Since the announcement, the files related to the Kanchrapara project are shuttling back and forth between mechanical and electrical directorates of railways, resulting in inordinate delay in its execution.