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Saturday, June 21, 2014
Gadkari meeting may give infrastructure projects a boost
June 21, 2014: Pending high-cost infrastructure projects in Tamil Nadu may see the light of the day with the change in regime at the Centre, and the State government’s keenness on joining hands with the Centre to execute them.
The changing environment is likely to give a fillip to new infrastructure projects, too.
A case in point is the contract signed early this week for the Tirumayam-Manamadurai national highway improvement work, the first contract to be signed in the State for a NH project after one-and-a-half years. Another project which is likely to take off soon is the Thanjavur-Pudukottai NH.
When Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari reviews the status of projects in southern States in New Delhi on Monday and Tuesday, the new government wants representatives of the States to take part in the deliberations, and the invitation has gone out for officials of the Tamil Nadu Highways Department.
A senior official here says the State is interested in ensuring early completion of various NH projects; in recent weeks, it has issued many orders to facilitate the execution of these projects and the launch of new ones.
As for land acquisition for the NH projects, the Collectors are the deciding authorities, and though many issues do not come to the notice of the government, attempts are being made to resolve them in a “pro-active manner,” the official says.
Several factors have contributed to the delay in the execution of the projects, an official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) says. For example, in respect of five projects whose aggregate cost is Rs. 3,800 crore, concessionaires are facing issues over contractual obligations with the NHAI. Among the projects are six-laning of the Poonamalle-Walajahpet section of NH-4 (Chennai-Bangalore) and two-laning of the Tindivanam-Krishnagiri section of NH-66 (Puducherry-Krishnagiri). One of the reasons cited by the concessionaires for their inability to execute the work is the government’s decision to levy charges for minerals, like sand, used in road construction.
Furthermore, there are also issues between the Centre and the State government. Some of them have come to the fore in the controversy over the Port-Maduravoyal elevated corridor. The Centre has been urging Tamil Nadu to sign an “umbrella state support agreement” for projects under the Public-Private Partnership.
The State government official hopes that Mr. Gadkari’s meeting will pave the way for a “forward movement.” A perfect rapport between both governments can help in the early award of contracts for five projects to the tune of Rs. 2,500 crore, a Central government official adds.