In an attempt to boost the sagging economy and turn around the negative investor sentiment, the Manmohan Singh government on Friday set a target to unlock and put on offer infrastructure projects worth Rs.1.14 lakh crore in the next six months in the rail, power, ports and aviation sectors.
The proposals that will be given a firm shape in the next six months under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode include the Mumbai elevated rail corridor (Rs.30,000 crore), two international airports in Bhubaneswar and Imphal (Rs.20,000 crore) and power and transmission projects (Rs.40,000 crore). The Prime Minister was of the view that there was an urgent need to ramp up investment in infrastructure to revive investor sentiment.
“A steering group is being formed to monitor the award and implementation of projects on a priority basis,” a PMO release said.
It was also decided during the meeting — chaired by Dr. Singh and attended by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia — that the Railway Ministry would soon bring before the Cabinet a proposal for creating a Rail Tariff Authority. Ministers of Power, Coal, Railways, Roads, Shipping and Civil Aviation also took part in the meeting.
Two new international airports — Bhubaneswar and Imphal — would be awarded and 50 new low-cost small airports would be set up by the Airports Authority of India for implementation. Similarly, eight greenfield airports are to be awarded this year in PPP mode — Navi Mumbai, Juhu (Mumbai), Goa, Kannur, Pune (Rajguru Nagar Chakan), Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu), Bellary and Raigarh. Airport operations and maintenance through PPP contracts will be introduced in Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
The low-cost airports that are likely to be set up include Vijayawada, Nellore, Kurnool, Kadapa, Nizamabad, Tirupati, Anantapur and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh; Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand; Muzaffarpur, Chapra and Sasaram in Bihar; Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Firozepur in Punjab; Agra, Allahabad, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor and Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh; Tezu, Momdila and Along in Arunachal Pradesh; Silchar, Jorhat and Tezpur in Assam; Gwalior, Singrauli, Burhanpur,Khandwa, Jabalpur, Sidhi and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh; Berhampur, Rourkela and Kendujhar in Odisha; Ajmer, Kota, Bhilwada and Alwar in Rajasthan and Kolhapur, Nasik, Jalgaon, Solapur and Amarawati in Maharashtra.
In the case of the Railways, an Inter-Ministerial Group of Railways, Finance and Planning will be formed with the task of coming up with a creative financing-cum-implementation mechanism in two months for clearing the huge backlog of sanctioned projects of over Rs. 2,00,000 crores in a prioritised and time-bound manner. The flagship projects of the Railways such as the two loco manufacturing projects, elevated rail corridor, the dedicated freight corridor and station re-development will be closely monitored for award in the next six months, the release said.
In the road sector, it was felt that the slowdown in the award of projects should be reversed in view of the large number of relaxations that have already been provided to PPP projects. The attention should be on expressways and the Planning Commission will work with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to suggest an implementation mechanism for expressways.
In the power sector, the Power Ministry would work with the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry to resolve issues and improve the generation and transmission capacity. The Power Ministry is working on a separate provision to operationalise open access.