PM gives infrastructure a push

Manmohan Singh
Promises to include important projects, such as MTHL, in 12th Five Year Plan

Mumbaikars can look forward to funding and speedy execution of key infrastructure projects with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promising to include "iconic projects" under the 12th Five Year Plan.

The Union government plans to launch the second phase of its flagship programme Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) — aimed at boosting infrastructure facilities in urban pockets of the country. The 12th Five Year Plan is being drafted with growth rate pegged at 9.5 per cent. Also, government has a target of investment worth almost a trillion US dollars in infrastructure.

The PM was in Mumbai for an award function, where he spoke on how "ramping up of investment in infrastructure is critical for reviving the growth momentum". About 50 per cent of the investment needed in infrastructure has to come from the private sector.

"We have set ambitious targets for the infrastructure sector and ministries are being monitored regularly to see that they perform as expected. Iconic projects are being taken up, including an elevated rail corridor in Mumbai. new airport in Navi Mumbai. We are also looking to quickly implement important urban projects, including the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) while launching a JNURM-2 in the l2th Plan," said Singh.

The Ministry of Railways has proposed to develop 63.27-km two-track elevated rail corridor between Oval Maidan and Virar at an estimated cost Rs 21,000 crore.

MMRDA is expecting to kickstart the 22-km link across the Mumbai harbour from Sewri to Nhava, after the Union finance Ministry's in-principle nod to grant 20 per cent viability gap fund (VGF) for the Rs 9,630-crore project.

Singh said many infrastructure projects are suffering from financing difficulties. "The roads and power sectors are particularly affected. We have to now build less viable roads, which require new approaches. These are being finalised. In the power sector, lack of fuel supply and the condition of state discoms have affected finances. These problems, too, are being addressed," he said.

'MMRDA white paper ready'

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the 'white paper' regarding the functioning of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) was ready. "During a cabinet discussion, questions were raised regarding works done by MMRDA. I had promised to present a white paper on MMRDA in a month," Chavan told reporters on Sunday.

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