No funds, Greater Noida defers ambitious night safari project along Yamuna Expressway
According to officials, the projects put on back burner include the Rs700 crore night safari project, the Rs50 crore heliport project, the 15km Metro project and the authority’s office building in Knowledge Park 4, among others.noida Updated: Jun 04, 2017 22:42 IST
The Greater Noida authority’s chief executive officer, Debasish Panda, has decided to defer many ambitious projects that require a large amount of funds.
According to officials, the projects put on back burner include the Rs700 crore night safari project, the Rs50 crore heliport project, the 15km Metro project and the authority’s office building in Knowledge Park 4, among others.
“I have deferred all projects that needed a lot of money to be spent. When we are already facing a fund crunch, why should we spend on projects that will not bring us revenue immediately. Also, the public-private partnership model on which the night safari and heliport projects were based will not be in favour of the authority,” said Panda.
Faced with a severe financial crisis, the authority owes around Rs7,000 crore in debt to various banks and government agencies, including the Noida authority. It has also been failing to recover around Rs4,000 crore in pending land dues from builders. Since 2007, builders had been buying land for housing projects from the authority on instalment basis after paying only 10% of the land cost upfront. Now, they are defaulting on payment of instalments.
Among the deferred projects, the night safari was to be India’s first and the world’s fourth. It was to be developed by 2017 on 250 acres adjoining the Gautam Budh university campus on the Yamuna Expressway. Between 2012 and 2017, the UP government completed the paper work for it, but could not start work on ground. Similarly, in the last five years, the Greater Noida authority too failed to start work on the ground for the heliport project that was to be built on the PPP model.
“These projects may be deferred for months or years due to the fund crunch. Why should the authority partner with a private firm that is not investing in the projects such as the night safari or heliport,” said Panda.
Under the PPP model, the authority was supposed to provide land and invest money to develop the two projects.
“The authority is not in a position to spend funds. We can think about the projects only if a private firm can spend money on development and maintenance,” Panda added.