Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to coordinate with the ministries to identify decisions of various courts and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that delay infrastructure projects, prepare a list of all such delayed projects and the loss incurred by the government.
News18 has reviewed the minutes of a review meeting called by the PM on August 25. Cabinet Secretary monitored the exercise coordinated by four ministries. As of now, it is not clear what the government will do after the exercise is over, but the involvement of the Law Ministry and the top-level intervention of the PM indicates that a coordinated legal approach could be used to clear bottlenecks in a variety of such infrastructure projects.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways should work with the ministry of Law and Justice to identify decisions of the Hon’ble Courts, National Green Tribunal that are causing delays in infrastructure projects. Such exercises should be monitored by the Cabinet Secretary. In the minutes of the meeting presided over by the PM, the Cabinet Secretary prepares and compiles a list of projects delayed under such court orders or decisions including the loss to the exchequer.
The PM also requested that the Cabinet Secretary prepare a list of projects that had been delayed due to various government authorities and officials within a week and identify them. ‘The Cabinet Secretary should prepare a list of projects which have been delayed substantially and identify responsible authorities, agencies, or officials. The list may be submitted within a week,’ the minutes state. The Prime Minister’s Office released a press release on August 25 that mentioned in one line that the Prime Minister stressed the ‘importance of timely completion’ of eight projects reviewed that day.
Delays in projects irk PM
The Maharashtra and Gujarat governments were given targets for completing the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor project on August 25, according to the Prime Minister. Additionally, the PM demanded that work on Delhi’s Urban Extension Road begin by September 15, 2021. According to the minutes, the PM directed that the Ministry should begin the work in ‘Mission Mode’ and complete the project by 15 August- 2023, in commemoration of Amrut Mahotsava (75 years of Independence).
As a result of escalating costs, Prime Minister Modi has been bothered by delays in infrastructure projects. During a meeting in February, he had requested that the cabinet secretary prepare a method of operationalizing infrastructure projects in phases, rather than waiting until the entire work is completed. Moreover, the PM said all infrastructure projects should be redesigned to adopt a pragmatic and commercial approach. The PMO was also ordered to send periodic updates on long-delayed projects and for the states to expedite such projects.