Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has reassured that most problems related to infrastructure were being addressed and that positive changes will be seen soon.
Speaking at a session titled ‘Mind the Trillion Dollar Gap’ at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi he announced that the govt. has set an ambitious target for the road-building capacity to be taken up from the dismal 3 kms per day currently to 30 kms per day in the next two years.
Speaking about the issues and challenges, Gadkari mentioned land acquisition, cost of capital, and environment, among others which needed to be addressed. The multiplicity of laws and policies, Ministries involved, attitudes and approaches to infrastructure development were causing bottlenecks and resulting in stalled or cancelled projects with huge economic and social costs. India needs development and everyone must understand this and facilitate it, he stressed, adding that the Government would not, for instance, push for development at the cost of environment. An “integrated” approach is required, he said, stressing that the Government was taking cognizance of the challenges and taking steps to facilitate investment in infrastructure.
Highlighting some of the challenges that industry faces, Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Construction Company, said that land acquisition remains the biggest hurdle and the delays and cancellations cause economic losses often as high as 50 per cent of the cost of the project. This is compounded by multiple challenges that are extraneous to the Ministry such as environmental clearances, the Companies Bill, etc all of which need to be addressed for India to be able to get the kind of infrastructure it needs and deserves.
Stressing that all stakeholders need to work together, Gulabchand said the focus should be on ensuring that the policies and processes are fair and transparent, and that the dispute resolution mechanism is credible and easy to implement and follow.
Gadkari said that the Government is working to address these issues and mentioned that they are working to change the model agreement to make it fair to all.