The State Planning Board has set up a project financing cell to probe the possibility of expanding the financial resources for executing public projects with private participation.

Talking to the media after a meeting of the board here on Tuesday, its vice-chairman K.M. Chandrasekhar said the cell would look for the scope for private participation in the case of all public projects requiring an outlay of more that Rs.5 crore. Anuradha Balram, an Indian Economic Service officer on deputation from the Centre, would head the cell.

He said the meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, discussed certain changes in the guidelines for Plan fund allocation to various departments. Projects that had not reached completion even after several years would be reviewed to decide whether they should be continued or modified.

He said the work at the stage of formulating the Plan had to be streamlined by all departments by exercising more diligence than at present. The Planning Board had sought the details of ongoing and pending projects under each department for the purpose of streamlining the monitoring system. Eleven departments were yet to provide the data.

The new guidelines discussed by the board stipulated a five per cent cut in Plan allocation to the departments displaying indiscipline in this respect.

He said the board also took a decision to bring mega projects such as the Vizhinjam port, Kochi metro rail, and monorails in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram under the same capital head so that the projects that progressed faster than the others could access more funds than their allocations for the year.

Utilisation of Plan fund by the government departments till October end came to 29 per cent this financial year (as against 17 per cent around the same time last year). When the performance of local self-government institutions too was taken into consideration, utilisation came to 23 per cent of the allocation (15 per cent last year). And when Central schemes too were taken into consideration, 24 per cent of the outlay was spent till October end (17 per cent around the same time last year). Minister for Planning K.C. Joseph, who also addressed the press conference, said local self-government institutions would launch their projects listed for the financial year without any further delay.

More In: Kerala | National