PATNA: A slew of railway projects in Bihar worth about Rs 10,000 crore are being delayed due to paucity of funds or for other reasons.
Most of these projects were allocated to Bihar during the tenure of former railway ministers Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. They include Digha-Sonepur rail cum road bridge, among the three mega bridges.
Munger rail bridge and Nirmali bridge over Kosi river in north Bihar, which have already overrun the cost due to delay in their completion and escalation of prices of steel, iron, cement and other construction materials. The Digha-Sonepur bridge, which was to be completed at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore, would now be completed at a cost of Rs 2,400 crore, if everything went on expected schedule, sources said.
The railway projects across the country, which were to be completed at a cost of Rs 36,930 crore, would now need Rs 91,902 crore due to cost overrun, incurring about 148% additional expenditure of Rs 55,000 crore, said a Railway Board official.
According to sources, the fate of two major projects – the locomotive factories at Marhaura in Saran district and Madhepura in Bihar – has been hanging in balance and already delayed by about five to six years. Although railways is keen to complete them on public-private partnership (PPP) basis, no such step has been taken so far in that direction. Recently, railways invited global tenders for kicking off these two projects but to no avail, sources said.
Though railways has already visualized Bihar as the most developed state as well as an ancillary zone of Indian Railways by the end of 2015-2016, slow progress of major projects is likely to come in the way of attaining the target, sources said, adding that Bihar is to be developed as the main hub of all major component factories, including wheel factory, electric and diesel locomotives and modern maintenance workshops.
The factories duly approved by the Planning Commission and Railway Board for Bihar include the wheel factory at Chhapra (Rs 1,417 crore), diesel engine factory at Marhaura (Rs 2,025 crore), electric engine factory at Madhepura (Rs 1,400 crore), coach maintenance workshop at Harnaut (Rs 325 crore), DEMU maintenance depot at Sonepur (Rs 15 crore), goods wagon repair workshop at Sonepur (Rs 92 crore) and wagon repair workshop at Samastipur (Rs 33 crore).
Though the Chhapra factory and coach maintenance workshop at Harnaut have been completed, they are yet to be officially inaugurated.