Plan panel, finmins meddling slowing down projects, road ministry to tell PM

Written by Timsy Jaipuria | New Delhi | Updated: May 30 2014, 03:17am hrs
The ministry of roads, highways and transport is likely to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the Planning Commission and finance ministry less meddling.

Sources said that this plea would form part of the ministry's presentation to the PM. As reported earlier, each ministry is supposed to make a presentation to the PM shortly outlining their agenda, what went wrong in the past and how they plan to set it right. The road ministry feels that its programmes do not get implemented on time because of undue interference from the Planning Commission and the finance ministry, which should not happen.

"There are many examples when the Planning Commission and finance ministry have led to delays in projects. The road ministry does not see any reason behind the interference," officials said.

Recently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had blamed the Planning Commission for blocking its attempts to revive the virtually-stalled road sector and sought more powers to speed up project implementation. "It's high time that the role of the Planning Commission is reviewed and the ministry starts playing a proactive role to sort out the issues being faced by the road sector," NHAI chairman RP Singh had written in a recent letter to road transport and highway secretary Vijay Chhibber.

Referring to NHAI's initiative of settlement of disputes and their amicable resolution worth around Rs 5,000 crore, Singh had said that the Plan panel has even opposed this agenda item brought before the authority's board. "The Planning Commission is responsible for blocking the exit policy, which if agreed as per our initial proposal, would have provided necessary impetus to the road sector. Similarly, the Planning Commission is squarely responsible for the delay caused in the Cabinet decision on rescheduling of the premium. Not only Planning Commission has delayed the decision-making process, their objections have invariably resulted in suboptimal decisions, which have created complications than solving them," Singh had written.