Govt woos investors to end infrastructure woes

Govt woos investors to end infrastructure woes

Hardselling the concept of public-private partnership (PPP) in transport and infrastructure projects, the State PWD department has urged private investors to consider partnership with the government in implementing road, rail, port and airport projects.

Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Principal Secretary, PWD on Thursday highlighted the need for private investments and participation in mega projects like the expressway between Bangalore and Mangalore.

Addressing the gathering at GIM, he said this new alignment between Bangalore and Mangalore would serve as an industrial corridor and a mega bypass to the existing road. "We are in talks with the Centre about furthering this project. The government is planning construction of similar corridors from North to South and East to West in the State," he said.

Khuntia said industrial clusters, educational institutions, food courts, petrol bunks and any roadside facilities could come up on the proposed expressway.

“The new highway will have to be built with private investment. The investor will get development rights. Naturally, it will be a toll road. Land acquisition has to be done by the investor. The government can only be a facilitator,” he said.

When Deccan Herald asked him whether any investor showed interest in the expressway project at GIM, the officer said only the idea had been mooted at the meet. But, six proposals have been received by the government for various other PPP projects, he said.

He said the government was trying to get investment from Japan International Co-operation Agency (Jica) for building a tunnel road in the Shiradi ghat section of about 26 km.

The officer said these corridors could help in development of peripheries, in the process checking migration of people to bigger cities. He said investors could set up industries, skill centres, power plants, water supply projects and educational institutions as part of this mega project. "Wherever there are good roads, there will be ribbon development. It also helps in distribution of population."

He invited investors to set up 'construction academies', like the one in Hyderabad, which can produce trained manpower for the fast evolving construction sector.

Khuntia said another project that could attract the investors was the Bangalore-Chennai industrial corridor, which is being implemented by the Centre in partnership with the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments. Japanese loan is forthcoming for the project, he said.   
The officer said the government had decided to construct all minor ports in the State through PPP model, henceforth. To boost economic development, the government was in the process of framing a 'captive port policy,’ he said.

He said the government, which was already in the process of building State highways on a PPP model, was looking for further participation from private firms to maintain roads and collect toll.

One building, twin objective

The State government is looking for private investors who can build a ‘residential facility’ at the Suvarna Soudha complex in Belgaum. The Soudha is likely to be ready for inauguration by June-end.

The PWD has spent nearly Rs 400 crore on constructing the Soudha on an area of 25 acres. The PWD is contemplating to allow construction of a ‘residential facility’ or a hostel, on about five acres as part of the complex.

In Bangalore, the Legislators’ Home is the residential complex for legislators. Khuntia said whenever the session is held in Belgaum, the residential facility could be used by legislators. Rest of the time, it could be used as a hostel.

“The government will only provide the land, but not make any investment. Anyhow, the session is held for less than a month in a year there. So, we will not require the residential complex for the rest of the year. Already expression of interest has been invited,” he said.

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