Infrastructure projects worth Rs 5 trillion can be taken up in the next five years, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari...
Infrastructure projects worth Rs 5 trillion can be taken up in the next five years, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today said as the NDA Government moves to tackle land and environment clearance issues that have stymied such ventures.
“Nearly Rs 2.8 trillion worth projects were stuck before I took charge. We must do a lot in the infrastructure sector. We believe projects worth Rs 5 trillion can be taken up in the next five years,” he said at an event here.
Projects worth Rs 1.8 trillion have already kick- started after the BJP-led Government took charge in May-end, he said this evening.
The Minister said projects have been delayed due to various issues, including land acquisition, environment clearance and public protests, among others.
“There are various issues that needed to be addressed to ensure speedy approvals. Besides, each project has its own set of issues. We are now seeking information about each project and trying to address them individually.”
Gadkari said the Government will take measures to ensure projects become cost effective so that they can be undertaken on PPP (public-private partnership) model.
“We need to make projects cost and quality effective. If measures can be taken to reduce the cost of construction and the States and the Centre give some relaxation on taxation at certain levels, projects can become viable and we can do them on PPP model. We want to do ports and water transport projects under the PPP model.”
Development of inland water transport and ports will itself help increase GDP grow by an additional 2 per cent, he said, adding it will also generate employment.
During the previous Manmohan Singh administration as many as Rs 28 trillion worth infra plans were stuck due to policy inaction and land acquisition issues, among others.
In June 2013, the UPA Government set up a monitoring cell under PMO which cleared projects worth Rs 8 trillion. But banks still say there is no demand for project loans.
Gadkari said his Ministry’s focus will be to give priority to water-ways followed by rail and roads. “Inland water transport is the cheapest and pollution-free among all the other means of transport. We want to encourage water transport system.”
He hinted at forming a national waterways authority on the lines of the one existing for highways.