A high-power committee has been set up to scrutinise and grant approval to 10 major infrastructure development project proposals, release funds, ensure timely implementation of the projects, and check the lapse of Rs.846.03 crore provided in the budget.

The government has issued guidelines for the release of funds for the 10 projects, which include the Capital City Development Programme, monorail in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, High-Speed Rail Corridor, ICTT Vizhinjam, Kochi Metro, and Kochi-Palakkad National Investment and Manufacturing Zone. The Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) will head the committee, which will have the State Planning Board Secretary and the Industries, Transport, Sports and Youth Affairs, and Ports Secretaries as members. The Secretary, Planning and Economic Affairs, will be the member coordinator of the committee, and the heads of the departments concerned will be the special invitees.

Bottlenecks

The setting up of the committee comes in the wake of the finding that there are several bottlenecks in the timely utilisation of funds provided for major projects, especially in the initial stage, official sources told The Hindu. The funds provided either lapse or are utilised for other schemes by re-appropriation.

The Petroleum Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Region, Kannur International Airport, Mobility Hub, and 35th National Games figure among the 10 projects. The outlay of Rs.846.03 crore will be controlled and operated by the Secretary, Planning and Economic Affairs Department. The amount was provided under a single head in the 2013-14 budget with flexibility to utilise against any of the 10 projects, depending on requirement. The release of the funds will be need based and when the actual expenditure falls due. It has been decided that ad hoc/advance release of funds before expenditure becoming due will not be allowed.

Guidelines issued

As per the guidelines issued, the respective departments will have to submit proposals to the high-power committee for approval and sanction.

The departments have been asked to submit the proposals in accordance with the general guidelines prescribed by the Special Working Group. The committee will scrutinise the proposals and grant approval. It has also been given the power to consider the proposals on a first come, first served basis, and decide the amount to be released for each project.

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