Half of infrastructure projects delayed, states told

April 17th, 2011 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) More than 50 percent of centrally funded infrastructure projects were found to have been delayed, following which the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has asked states to set up monitoring committees.

Statistics and Programme Implementation Minister M.S. Gill has directed states to set up a Central Sector Projects Coordination Committee (CSPCC), reminding them that his ministry is “responsible for monitoring the implementation of central sector projects costing more than Rs.150 crore”.

He also asked them to suggest any systematic or other improvements that may be possible.

In his letter to state chief ministers sent last week, Gill said: “You would appreciate that India is expected to be one of the global economic leaders and for that to happen, one of the key drivers would be infrastructure development in order to maintain and improve on a GDP growth of eight to nine percent.”

Pointing out that 50 percent of the infrastructure projects were getting delayed, Gill said this was becoming “detrimental” to progress.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also stressed several times that there was a large deficit in India’s physical infrastructure, which was affecting the country’s economic development adversely.

In his letter, Gill said: “Any time and cost overrun in implementation of these projects would be detrimental to the progress of the country.”

“It is pertinent to mention here that the state governments are very important stakeholders in the whole infrastructure building process and they would be equally interested in seeing that the benefits of the infrastructure projects reach people at the earliest.

“However, it has been observed that more than 50 percent of the central sector projects experience time delay beyond their scheduled date of completion due to various generic problems being faced by the projects during implementation,” he added.

He said the major reasons for delays are land acquisition, delays in getting environment/forest/wildlife clearances, delay in removal of encroachments and law and order problems and lack of coordination between different departments in resolving issues, lack of supporting/facilitating infrastructure like approaches to project sites.

“I would, therefore, request you that a high- powered committee, which could be called the Central Sector Projects Coordination Committee (CSPCC), may be constituted under the chairmanship of the chief secretary of your state, with representatives from the central project authorities working in the state…” he said.

He also said the committee could also have representatives from his ministry and representatives from the state government agencies/departments concerned such as pollution control, revenue and rehabilitation, environment and forest, PWD, water supply, urban development, power and police.

“The committee could meet once a quarter, with the agenda to sort out bottlenecks in timely implementation of central sector projects,” Gill suggested.

The minister said principal secretary (planning) could be designated as the member-secretary of the committee and could also coordinate with the central authorities. The principal secretary will also coordinate with the central project authorities on any problems.

“This would be a major step towards mitigating the time overruns in central projects and give a fillip to economic growth in the country,” Gill said.

The UPA government has accorded infrastructure development the highest priority and allocated for it Rs.20 lakh crore (Rs.20 trillion) in the Eleventh Five Year Plan, which ends March 2012. In the subsequent five-year plan, the government plans to double the allocation.

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