Only those public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the roads sector which have got all other clearances need to be put up before the PPP Appraisal Committee (PPPAC), the finance ministry has told the ministry of road transport and highways.
The PPP-AC, which is chaired by the secretary-economic affairs, is responsible for examining concession agreements from the financial angle, decide on guarantees to be extended, and generally assesses risk allocation from the investment and banking perspectives, before giving the nod for an infrastructure project in the PPP mode. In practice, many projects which have not got the requisite environment, forest and land-related clearances are being referred to PPP-AC, which leads to confusion and delays.
According to sources present in the PPP-AC meeting held earlier this week, finance ministry officials have told the roads ministry and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that despite PPP-AC giving clearance to road projects a lot of them are unable to start as they do not have clearances like environment, wildlife etc. or are stuck in the issues of land acquisition. It has been suggested that the PPP project must first get required clearances from other agencies, before approaching the PPP-AC.
The suggestion comes in backdrop of the fact that in the first quarter of the current fiscal itself, several projects got deferred on account of environment and law and order issues. Recently, private infrastructure firms, banks and lending institutions met with the Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi to find ways to remove obstacles. The ministry had targeted to build 3,000 km of highways in the current fiscal.
PM Manmohan Singh in a review held last month of core sector ministries including shipping, railways, roads, power and aviation, set a target of awarding 9,500 km of roads and highways during the current fiscal.