New Delhi: Expressing concerns over the delay in major highway projects, the state governments have started mounting pressure on the Centre for their timely completion. Judging by the snail pace development in these projects, it appears they are likely to get completed in another three to four years.

Taking a serious note on the delay in the infrastructure projects, the Parliamentary Estimates Committee has already asked the Union Surface Transport Ministry to adopt realistic approach in this context.

States like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have urged the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry to issue new guidelines reducing completion time of the highway projects being constructed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

These states asserted that takes at least a year to prepare the feasibility report of the major road projects. Approval of the Request for qualifications and finalization of the financial bid each take six months. The entire process has stalled the other projects in the states.

Sources said the financial bid had been invited without the approval of Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) on the direction of Highways Ministry to avoid the delay in project clearance.

Even four-five proposals were approved. However, the exercise was later stopped because of the objection raised by the Finance Ministry’s Departments of Economic Affairs.

Following which, the Ministry on September 21, directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to adhere with guidelines.
The Highways Ministry had directed to halt all the projects which did not receive PPPAC approval. The PPPAC nod is mandatory for the any project worth over Rs 100 crore.

However, the Ministry blamed the state governments’ lackadaisical attitude for the delay in the projects. Ministry sources said the projects have delayed in the states like Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh due to slow pace of land acquisition.

(JPN/Bureau)