With other economic ministries lagging behind on the UPA government’s 100-day agenda, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Mumbai to announce the commissioning of ONGC’s Rs 5,260 crore “mega projects” and a new Rs 6,325 crore project on Saturday has been cancelled.
The government’s 100 days end on August 29.
While the official reason being given is that there is another event of Cairn India at Barmer in Rajasthan on the same day to announce the production of oil from India’s biggest onshore discovery, a senior petroleum ministry official confirmed that this is a conscious decision by the government to play down its performance in the first 100 days of its second innings.
Instead of focusing on big-bang industrial projects, officials said the PM has chosen to announce projects and schemes that have larger national importance. For instance, the government has decided to announce an employment scheme for farmers in Rajasthan (Naroka) instead of the earlier plans to visit Mumbai to inaugurate ONGC’s projects and JSW Energy’s power plant.
While some ministries like power, steel and mines are lagging behind the targets set under the 100 days agenda, others like road and highways did not even submit details of projects to be completed under this programme. “It seems the government does not want to play it big,” a steel ministry official said.
Refusing to give any reason why PM’s visit to inaugurate its mega event —Sagar Utkarsh — has been cancelled, ONGC chairman and managing director said, “I am not aware of the reason.”
“On our part, ONGC has completed the three projects assigned to it under the 100-day agenda,” he said. “These are for incremental production of oil and gas.”
Against its 100-day target to add 5,653 mega watts (mw), the power ministry has been able to deliver only 4,000 mw. Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has attributed this to the shortfall of adequate fuel for the power projects.
“We would complete our 100-day targets over the next two weeks,” said Shinde.
In steel, while the government has met most of its targets, NMDC’s merger with sponge iron India Ltd and allocation of Chiria mines to state-owned SAIL are still pending.
Similarly, the coal ministry was to announce a roadmap for disinvestment of Coal India Ltd. This too is hanging.
“As most ministries are lagging behind targets, there is no reason to celebrate the achievements of one ministry at the cost of others,” an official said.