PM sets investment target of R1.15 lakh cr in infrastructure projects over 6 months

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 29 2013, 10:02am hrs
Banking on a likely revival in the investor sentiment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday set an investment target of Rs 1.15 lakh crore in PPP projects across infrastructure sectors over the next six months.

At a meeting of key infrastructure sector ministries to finalise infrastructure targets for 2013-14, the prime minister also asked them to take major policy related decisions at sectoral level to fast-track the stuck projects and resolve pending issues.

The meeting was attended by the finance minister, deputy chairman, Planning Commission and ministers and secretaries of key infrastructure ministries - power, coal, railways, roads, shipping and civil aviation.

For railways revival, the PM has decided to form an Inter-Ministerial Group of Railways, Finance and Planning with the task of coming up with a creative financing-cum-implementation mechanism in two months for clearing the large backlog of sanctioned projects of over Rs 200,000 crore in a prioritized and time-bound manner.

The proposal for creating a Rail Tariff Authority will also be accelerated and brought to Cabinet soon, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said .

The flagship projects of railways such as the two loco manufacturing projects, elevated rail corridor, the dedicated freight corridor and station redevelopment will be closely monitored for award in the next six months, he said

In the civil aviation, the government has decided to set up two new international airports at Bhubaneswar and Imphal and 50 new low cost small airports will be taken up by Airports Authority of India, including 8 Greenfield airports which are to be awarded this year in PPP mode. The airports to come up on PPP mode are Navi Mumbai, Juhu (Mumbai), Goa, Kannur, Pune (Rajguru Nagar Chakan), Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh.

The government also decided to to introduce airport operations and maintenance through PPP contracts in AAI airports. The government will also consider airports being considered are Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

In ports, the two new PPP ports at Sagar (West Bengal) and Durgarajapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) that have been approved by Cabinet will be awarded in the current fiscal.

To put the power sector on growth trajectory it was decided by the PM that the power ministry will work with Planning Commission and finance ministry to resolve remaining issues in the power sector and improve generation and transmission capacity. Ahluwalia said in wake of shortage of gas, he believed that domestic gas should be shared between fertiliser and power units, but said such a decision would be taken up by the CCEA on the basis of a proposal finalised by the oil ministry.

For the roads, Ahluwalia said a lot of issues were brought by the road ministry and some progress has already been made by Cabinet deciding measures to faciliate award of projects. For the road ministry, the PM has set the target of awarding of 5,000 km for the current fiscal.

For construction, he has kept the target of 3,000 km. The road ministry has also submitted targets in addition to this that are lower since the sector is facing tough times. The ministry has agreed to award a minimum of 4,028 km and construct 2,501 km if the slowdown continues to pinch the sector.

A senior road ministry official, who was present in the meeting said, We have also informed the PM that since the sector is going through tough times they would try and achieve the targets set by the Planning Commission and PMO but in case the ministry is unable to cope up, it will at least clock the internal targets which are lower.

To improve coal production, the government will put in place new policies.