It may be too late to reap political dividend but the UPA government’s initiative to fast-track stalled infrastructure projects that started last June is winning laurels from all over including opposition-ruled states.
The Project Monitoring Group (PMG) set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cleared Rs. 5.1 lakh crore worth of infrastructure projects in less than a year, prompting over a dozen states — majority of them ruled by opposition parties — to knock at Delhi’s doors for help in setting up similar monitoring cell in their respective states.
These projects in power, highways, port and railways sector were struck for over a year or more due to delay in getting environment clearances, land acquisition, delay in signing fuel supply agreement, etc.
In the last couple of months, 14 states have approached the cabinet secretariat under which the PMG functions. Inundated by requests, the PMG whose mandate is to monitor stalled projects, each of which is worth Rs. 1,000 crore or more is now developing a state specific software that will help the states in starting their own project monitoring cells.
“We are developing the software for the states. It will be ready by next month. Once it becomes functional, states will be able to monitor and fast-track stalled project which has an investment below Rs. 1,000 crore. Any central issue related to the project will, however, have to be referred to the Centre for resolution. Also any project which has an investment of over Rs. 1,000 crore will have to come to the PMG ,” said a senior official in the cabinet secretariat.
The states that have approached the Centre include Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam.
According to data available with PMG, some of the 14 states that have approached the Centre have a very high number of projects that are struck. Of the 439 projects registered with PMG for resolution, Orissa has 72, Maharashtra 47, Chattisgarh 46 and Karnataka 39.