‘Road projects of 7000 km to be awarded this year’
Indian President Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil in her address to the Parliament has reiterated the government’s priority to develop adequate and quality infrastructure within the country. To meet the challenge of mobilizing resources for infrastructure, she said, the government has taken a number of initiatives such as issuing regulations for setting up of Infrastructure Debt Funds to tap pension and insurance funds for the first time.
“In order to promote private sector participation in creation of infrastructure, 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,” she said, adding that the country needs to significantly upgrade and expand infrastructure. “Government is making efforts to increase port capacity. Rail and road connectivity to ports is being improved. Possibilities are being explored to take up more inland water transport projects particularly in the North East,” she said.
In her speech she mentioned that a comprehensive modernization programme of Railways is being launched. More dedicated freight corridors, in addition to the eastern and western corridors already in progress, will be built to segregate freight and passenger train operations.
In the road sector, she said, projects for construction of at least 7000 kms of roads will be awarded this year. “Initiatives have been taken to ensure transparency by switching to e-procurement and e-tendering,” she added.
She acknowledged that as India expands its economy the energy requirements are expected to more than double in a decade. “There are major achievements on the power generation front. Capacity addition in the 11th plan period is likely to be around 52,000 MW as against 21,000 MW in the 10th plan period. In 2011-12 alone we are likely to add a record 15,000 MW,” she said.
She said India needs new and renewable ways to cater to its energy demands. “Solar power projects of around 400 MW are planned to be added by the end of the current financial year under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. I am happy to inform you that recent tariff bids are 50 per cent less than they were when the Mission was launched just two years ago,” the President said.
India’s installed capacity of nuclear plants has risen to 4780 MW, and is expected to further increase to 10,080 MW by the end of the 12th Plan.