At a time when the economy has hit a rough patch and private developers are shying away from investing, a three-member special group set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month to monitor stalled infrastructure projects has managed to put 17 projects worth R65,000 crore back on track.
These projects — in power, highways and railways sector — were stuck in limbo for over a year or more for reasons, including delay in getting environment clearances, land acquisition, delay in signing fuel supply agreement (FSA), etc.
Since July 2, when the project monitoring group (PMG) set up at the cabinet secretariat first met, it has cleared bottlenecks that had delayed 17 projects (see box). A majority of them (11) are coal projects stuck since 2009 because of delay in signing the FSA. Currently, 122 infrastructure projects across the country worth R7 lakh crore are hanging fire. Since the PMG was set up, a total of 112 projects have been registered with it for resolution.
“We are not doing any magic, just providing a structured platform where officials from investing ministries and entrepreneurs meet and try to sort out issues. We have found that more often than not it’s just lack of coordination between different ministries that causes the delay,” said Anil Swarup, who heads the PMG.
The group meets every week with specific days fixed to take up issues concerning projects of a particular ministry. The projects which do not get cleared are referred to the Cabinet Committee on Investment.
Also in a first, the PMG has decided to go to the states — where a majority of projects, especially in the highways sector are stuck in land acquisition or environment clearance disputes. The first such meeting will take place in Bangalore on July 26.