Faster clearances accorded to projects in recent months have had a salutary impact on coal and power ventures, but with the question of remunerative returns unresolved and lenders being wary, PPPs in other infrastructure sectors like roads, seaports and railways continue to lag targets – woefully so, reports Sanjay Singh in New Delhi. According to a review by the Planning Commission of the implementation of infrastructure projects during April-November 2014, only 60.7 km of new railway lines were built, a dismal 20% of the target of 300-km lines for 2014-15.
Similarly, for doubling of rail lines and electrification too, only 34% and 37% of the respective annual targets were achieved in the first eight months of the fiscal year.
Of the 707 central-sector projects including roads, railways, airports, ports, telecom and power sectors, the Railways has incurred the biggest delays, with 274 projects missing completion targets. Of these 274 projects, 236 have not been commissioned.
Similarly, only 2,213 km of roads were constructed during the period under review against 6,300 km targetted to be built during the year, which means 35% achievement. The road transport and highways ministry and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) awarded only 47% (4,000 km) of road length for development against the target of 8,500 km for the year.
Worse has been the case for tolling of highway length, where only 14% (537 km) of the target (3,730 km) has been completed by the ministry in the period under review. As many as 118 NHAI projects are delayed.
Likewise, the Ports and Inland Waterways have also suffered badly and have missed targets for the period under review. The government had set a target for bidding of 26 ports. However the Shipping Ministry could manage to bid for only 15 during the period, despite the changes effected in the model concession agreement to attract investors.
The government was able to achieve only 32% (Rs 7,297 crore) of the investment target (Rs 22,536 crore) in the port sector for April-November 2014. Increasing tonnage capacity also took a dig with less than 32% achieved against the relevant target.
Between financial years 2009-10 and 2013-14, 88 new port projects were approved with an investment of Rs 42,953 crore leading to additional capacity of 558 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Around Rs 21,000 crore was invested in 30 projects during the last fiscal, achieving the target set for the port sector by the UPA government.
However, the performance of the power sector was better. New capacity of 10,942 megawatt was created in April-November against the target of 17,830 MW for the entire fiscal. Power supply was added to 182 towns during this period against a target of 380 towns for the year.
Domestic production of coal for April-November 2014 was 58.5% of the target, thanks in part to the obligation of fuel supply agreements (FSAs) on Coal India which forced it to up production. The production at captive coal mines has also helped.
Despite this, the non-availability of coal has been an issue since June this year and the power sector is grappling with the lack of availability of coal, especially after the Supreme Court in September this year quashed allocation of 204 coal blocks given to various companies since 1993 and ordered for fresh auctioning.
The Commission, soon to make for a more professional and in-sync-with-the-times Niti Aayog, said investments of Rs 5.6 lakh crore have already been made on 707 central-sector projects including railways, roads, ports, power, airports and telecom sectors. An additional Rs 5.7 lakh crore is required to complete these infrastructure projects.
The Commission has stated that that 83% of over 700 central sector projects have sustained cost overruns of nearly Rs 2 lakh crore and delays of up to 11-12 years.