New Delhi: Private infrastructure firms, banks and lending institutions today met Union Road Transport and Highways Minister CP Joshi to find ways to remove obstacles, including environment related issues, that are blocking the growth of the sector.
"We have discussed the issue of road construction, the issue of lenders and how we want to proceed in 2012-13. We have fixed a target of over 9,000 km award (of projects) and plus 3,000 km construction in the current fiscal," Joshi told reporters after two-hour long meeting with the stakeholders.
He said that in the first three months of 2012-13, the projects were delayed on account of environment and law and order issues.
"In the first quarter of this fiscal we had some problems, we have identified the issues and would work towards resolving them," he said, adding that during the period forest clearance was an issue which impacted the projects.
There were apprehensions about forest clearances, and in the left wing areas there were problems because of law and order, he added.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a review last month of core sector ministries including shipping, railways, roads, power and aviation, set a target of awarding 9,500 km worth of projects during the current fiscal.
Joshi also assured that his ministry would take up the issue of clearances with the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
"In terms of forest clearance, we would discuss the matter with the Ministry of Environment and Forests. PM has also appointed officials to address the inter-ministerial issues. We would identify those issues and get them resolved from the PMO (Prime Minister's Office)," he added.
Expressing the industry view, CMD of HCC Ajit Gulabchand said that new concession agreements have got certain flaws or limitations, so companies are not willing to bid for projects.
However, he said he cannot discuss the changes, which the companies are expecting, in the concession agreement.
Gulabchand said that there are almost Rs 11,000 crore in arbitration which needs to be resolved, the companies whose money is held up are in trouble...all these problems were discussed.
The industry is hopeful that the government would resolve the arbitration issues, improve the concession agreement and lay down the process with the environment ministry.
He said that the objective process by which they can give clearances for roads, they have to resolve the issues with the states in acquisition of land.
Meanwhile, Joshi said that very shortly the new EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) document would be approved by the Cabinet, once that document is approved we would go for the award of 4,000 km projects.
Once finalised, the new EPC model will be the basis for bidding of 20,000-km two-lane highways under the 12th Plan (2012-17).