As per a News18 exclusive report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a review meeting held on August 25 demanded a list of infrastructure projects delayed due to orders of various courts and the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba is said to lead this extensive exercise with the relevant ministries.
Four ministries have been asked to coordinate the exercise and also list the loss incurred to the exchequer due to the delay.
The minutes of the meeting accessed by News18 reads, “Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Railways and Road Transport & Highways in consultation with Ministry of Law and Justice should identify decisions of Hon’ble Courts, NGT, etc., related to land acquisition, forest or other clearances, etc., which are causing a delay in infrastructure projects.”
“Cabinet Secretary should monitor such exercise. A list of delayed projects due to such court decisions and orders, including loss incurred to the exchequer may also be prepared and compiled by the Cabinet Secretary,” it read further.
The objective of the exercise is not yet known, however, the report suggests that this exercise directed by the Prime Minister with the involvement of the Law Ministry could help clear the bottlenecks causing a hindrance in the completion of multiple infrastructure projects.
PM Modi had demanded the complete list of such projects within a week, the News 18 report stated. A press statement issued by the PMO office right after the meeting in which eight projects were reviewed stated that ‘the Prime Minister stressed on the significance of timely completion.’
Delay in projects
The report also suggests that the Prime Minister was displeased over the delay in the prestigious Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. He also directed the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to get in ‘mission mode’ and ensure completion of Delhi’s Urban Extension Road by September 15, 2021.
Stressing on adopting a different approach to cut losses incurred due to delay in projects, the Prime Minister in February had asked the cabinet secretary to prepare a methodology to operationalize infrastructure projects in phases as and when ready.
504 projects delayed
As per a recent Economic Times report, as many as 504 projects are running behind schedule and another 483 infrastructure projects reported cost overruns. The report is based on data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
The primary reasons for delay include land acquisition, delay in obtaining forest and environment clearances, and lack of infrastructure support and linkages.