Top official of Union Cabinet Secretariat to interact with State
Karnataka has received a shot in the arm for the implementation of some of its major and long-pending projects, with a top official of the Union Cabinet Secretariat expected to liaison with the State government to pave the way for obtaining central clearances and hasten their implementation.
At a meeting held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of the Union Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath is reported to have submitted a list of long-pending projects, each costing over a Rs. 1,000 crore, which have been delayed for one reason or the other. Most of them were electricity projects which required coal linkages. This included the joint venture with the Chhattisgarh government where Karnataka will be eligible for a share of the power generated.
Sources in the State government told The Hindu the Additional Secretary in the Union Cabinet Secretariat, Anil Swaroop, who has been briefed at length on the major pending projects in the State, will arrive here to convey the present status, reasons for the delay and ways to hasten implementation of such projects to the government. The State government has referred to the 4000 MW power project of the National Thermal Power Corporation at Kudigi in Bijapur district for which civil construction has already commenced, but is yet to be provided with coal linkages.
Other projects discussed include the gas-based power project at Bidadi —700 MW, which can be raised by another 1400 MW — near Bangalore. The gas for the project will have to come from the GAIL gas pipeline, and the two giant steel projects of ArcelorMittal at Bellary and Tata Steel in Haveri. The two steel projects are yet to be provided with iron-ore linkages and consequently civil works for the two projects are yet to commence. The others are the 2 x 850 MW Yeramarus thermal project, the 800 MW thermal project at Yedlapur in Raichur district and the 500 MW second phase of the Bellary Thermal Power Station project for which coal linkages are yet to be firmed up.
Sources said that at a meeting earlier this month, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to discuss an institutional mechanism to track stalled investment projects, both in the public and private sectors, it was decided to constitute a special cell for projects costing more than Rs. 1,000 crore to remove implementation bottlenecks on a fast-track basis. The special cell is headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary and the cell is scheduled to meet at regular intervals with a group of States, and gauge the status of various pending projects.
The Chief Secretaries are members of the cell and Karnataka was invited to attend the first meeting of the special cell a few days ago. It is said that the Prime Minister directed that a special cell be created immediately in the Cabinet Secretariat.