At a time when the government is going all out to give a push to the infrastructure sector, it seems one central government ministry has ended up playing spoilsport.
Over 20 big ticket infrastructure projects, each worth Rs 1,000 crore or more, cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) between January and August, have failed to take off as they are stuck with the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The CCI was set up by the government last year to fast track stalled big ticket infrastructure projects.
“We have repeatedly sought an explanation from the environment ministry as to why the projects are not being cleared despite CCI decisions, but the ministry has failed to provide the status,” said a senior government official who did not wish to be named.
In all, there are 399 projects in the manufacturing, power, steel, coal, petroleum and highways sector, worth a little over Rs 15 lakh crore that have been stuck for over a year or more.
The dilly-dallying by the environment ministry has irked the Prime Minister’s Office, which has now asked for an action taken report (ATR) from respective infrastructure ministries on projects where CCI decisions have not been implemented. An official said, “Ministries have been asked to submit an ATR by mid January.”
In July, the government had also set up the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) to track expenditure/investments on stalled projects that have been cleared.
The PMG has already cleared 92 stalled projects entailing a total investment of over Rs 3 lakh crore.
About 38% of the projects listed with PMG are related to the environment ministry.