Time, cost overruns in R&DE(E) projects, says report

The CAG report on city-based Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE(E)) has highlighted cost and time overruns in various projects undertaken by the DRDO laboratory.

The report is based on scrutiny of 50 projects 24 Staff and 26 Research and Development/Technology Development (R&D/TD) projects.

"From April 1995 to December 2010, R&DE(E) undertook 26 R&D/TD projects out of which 20 were closed after booking an expenditure of Rs 83.01 crore. Six R&D/TD projects were ongoing at the time of completion of audit. Out of the 20 closed projects, 16 showed time overrun ranging between 5 per cent and 189 per cent and four involved cost overruns," the report says adding, "Four out of 19 Staff Projects suffered cost escalation ranging up to 74.80 per cent."

Commenting on the laboratory's, arguably, one of the most successful projects, the report says, "The Army's requirement was of a five span bridge comprising 15m and 20m bridging systems to be used in conjunction with each other to bridge gaps from 15m to 100m within a time frame of 150 minutes. Only 15m bridging system was successfully developed and accepted by the User and not the 20m. The bridging system offered to Army was thus capable of bridging a gap of 75 m only (15m X 5 spans) whereas the requirement was of bridging gaps up to 100m (20m X 5 span)."

Citing another project, the report says the lab developed Counter Mine Flail for T-72 tanks for creating 4m wide safe lane. This was done on the basis of 2002 General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs). The final GSQRs, however, needed the lane to be 4.5 metre. "A new project was, therefore, sanctioned by DRDO in February 2011 to develop an improved CMF at an additional cost of 49.85 crore. The project is scheduled for completion by February 2014," says the report, adding that taking up projects before finalisation of GSQRs was one of the reasons behind high failure rate of projects.

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