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Government to award road projects for 7,000 km this year

Last updated on: March 12, 2012 14:53 IST

Government to award road projects for 7,000 km this year

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According high priority to infrastructure development, the government will award projects for construction of at least 7,000 km of roads this year, President Pratibha Patil said.

The UPA government had announced in 2009 an ambitious target for building 35,000 km of roads in five years, which translates into building 20 km a day. Achieving the target requires awarding about 7,000 km roads in a year.

"My Government accords high priority to development of adequate and quality infrastructure...Projects for construction of at least 7,000 km of roads will be awarded this year," Patil said in her address to the joint-session of Parliament.

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Image: President Pratibha Patil
Photographs: Reuters

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Stressing that her government "continues to give priority to road development," she said initiatives have been taken to ensure transparency by switching to e-procurement and e-tendering.

Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi had said last month that the government will achieve building the target of 20 km of road a day, an issue which it wants to project during the next parliamentary polls.

On the new Mines law, Patil said the government aims at "putting in place a legislative framework that would accelerate investments and infuse advanced technology in the mining sector and ensure that proceeds from mining activities are available for developing the areas affected by it."

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Photographs: Reuters

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The Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill, which provides for coal miners to share 26 per cent net profits and an amount equivalent to royalty by others, was introduced in Parliament in the last session.

It has been referred to a Parliamentary panel for an in-depth scrutiny and the government is hopeful that once the Committee gives its report by March-end, the new bill will be passed in the second leg of the budget session.

The bill proposes to set up a district development fund, where the money accumulated from the 26 per cent profit sharing by coal miners and an amount equivalent to 100 per cent of royalty for others, will be deposited and spent on local population and area development.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Talking about challenges of mobilising resources for infrastructure, Patil said the government has taken a number of initiatives such as issuing regulations for setting up Infrastructure Debt Funds to tap pension and insurance funds for the first time. A uniform definition of 'infrastructure' is also being finalised.

In order to promote private sector participation in infrastructure development, she said, "The Government has included additional sub-sectors under the Scheme for Financial Support to Public Private Partnerships in Infrastructure under the Viability Gap Funding Scheme."

These include capital investment in the creation of modern storage capacities, education, health and skills development.

Will the FM raise tax exemption limits? Will he manage to keep both industrialists and common people happy? To know all about Union Budget 2012-13, Click here!

Photographs: Reuters

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