Patel stresses on time-bound execution of mega projects

Bhubaneswar: Completion of mega projects in India in a time-bound manner is an urgent need of hour to achieve the desired economic growth and for this all constituents of Indian democracy must work together, said Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Praful Patel at OTV’s annual convention, Foresight2014, here on Tuesday.

Patel, who chaired a session on “Interminable wait for mega projects in India: roadmap for unblocking bottlenecks,” said “it is very important for a country to build mega projects and change the economic landscape. Think of Rourkela, Bokaro, Bhilai or Durgapur….where would the region be today if we didn’t have those mega projects?”

Elaborating on the interminable delays in execution of mega projects, Patel said most of them are stuck because of environmental clearances. Talking about a recent Cabinet meeting, Patel cited how Coal India could not produce more coal as it didn’t have facilities to move the produce out. “There was a proposal to build 1000-km long railway line to move that coal….but unfortunately the Environment Minister and the secretary was absent and a decision couldn’t be taken”.

Emphasising Odisha sitting on 100 years of coal reserves, Patel questioned, “What is the point of having that coal if you can’t utilise it now? In another 25-30 years, coal will become redundant for its high emission and other reasons…And this, in the face of India importing $ 10-12 billion of coal every year.”

Talking of the changing realities, Patel said now 90 percent of people who approach politicians today for a job…because certain infrastructure like schools, roads and community halls are now
available. “It is unfortunate that if we can’t give jobs to such a workforce just because the mega-projects are delayed,”