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Infrastructure experts want regulator

March 20, 2008 11:08 IST
There is a need to set up independent regulatory authorities on energy, transport and urban infrastructure at the state level to ensure smooth implementation of infrastructure projects, especially those which are taken up on the PPP (public private partnership) model, said Vinayak Chatterjee, co-chairman of the CII National Council on Infrastructure and chairman of Feedback Ventures Limited.

In the absence of a regulatory authority at the state level, it would be tough to attract private investment for the infrastructure projects, he added.

Chatterjee was speaking at the Infra East meet, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He also stressed on the need for the eastern region states to create an Off-Budget Infrastructure Development Fund, which is already in place in the states of Punjab and Gujarat.

This apart, Chatterjee felt that all states should aim towards effective utilisation of all Central Government schemes like Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, Viability Gap Funding, Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP) and the Transmission and Distribution Fund proposed in this year's Union budget.

He pointed out that in 2006-07, West Bengal should have invested Rs 15,631 crore (Rs 156.31 billion) on infrastructure projects which comes to 9 per cent of the state's net domestic product (Rs 1,73,674 crore).

Out of the Rs 15,631 crore spending, projects worth Rs 4,689 crore (Rs 46.89 billion) should have been taken up on the PPP model but Chatterjee cast a doubt on  whether such an amount was actually spent by the government of West Bengal.

The investment on infrastructure in India in 2006-07 was around 5 per cent of the country's GDP. The infrastructure spending in the country is estimated at 6.09 per cent of the GDP in 2007-08 and is projected to reach about 9 per cent of the GDP by 2011-12.

Speaking on the occasion, Asok Bhattacharya, the minister for urban development and municipal affairs of the government of West Bengal, said The state had recently released a long term policy document on urban development.

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),  169 projects worth Rs 4,500 crore (Rs 45 billion) has already been sanctioned for West Bengal, said PK Pradhan, principal secretary of the department of urban development of the government of West Bengal.

B R Balachandran, managing director of Alchemy Urban Systems Limited felt that states should adopt the model of land acquisition prevalent in Gujarat.

Under the model, the government acquires a part of the landholding for building the requisite infrastructure, and the land owners willingly sell the land to the government in anticipation of better prices of their property.

Dulal Mukherjee, the proprietor of Dulal Mukherjee and Associates said, Real estate developers should contribute towards the development of roads and other infrastructure outside their development areas for a social cause.

Speaking on the PPP projects, Sudip Datta, vice-president of IL&FS IDC (Infrastructure Development Corporation) said "The success of PPP projects depends on providing information required to take informed decision, reduction of risks and uncertainty, the intrinsic strength and viability of the project as well as the project concept and its integration with the sector plans."

Datta believed that the drivers of the PPP projects include source of private financing, superior governance and greater accountability, superior technology and management efficiency.

BS Reporters in Kolkata
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