Infra works worth Rs 1.24L cr incomplete: govt data

Infra works worth Rs 1.24L cr incomplete: govt data

Karnataka lags behind several states on rate of completion of projects.

Over the past decade or so, Karnataka took up 714 infrastructure projects worth Rs 3.05 lakh crore, placing it third in the country behind Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

However, more than half of the projects remain under various stages of implementation, according to data from the Centre’s Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) analysed by DH. Some projects have remained incomplete for years, which authorities blame on land acquisition hurdles.

The database comprises infrastructure projects costing Rs 5 to Rs 50 crore and above implemented through public-private partnership (PPP), traditional procurement or wholly by private firms. Several lift irrigation schemes such as Singatalur and roadworks, civic infrastructure works in Bengaluru among many others have been crawling towards completion for several years. In all, as many as 468 projects worth Rs 1.24 lakh crore are either in the pre-construction stage, under construction or have been terminated, according to the data.

“Land acquisition is the biggest issue for the delay in projects,” Additional Chief Secretary (Infrastructure Development Department) Sandeep Dave said. “There can’t be any other problem because there are no finance or policy issues.”

Dave said the government was pushing deputy commissioners to negotiate with landowners and purchase land from them directly so as to avoid the cumbersome land acquisition process laid down under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. “Deputy commissioners can buy land up to 100 acres. Likewise, for railway projects, they can buy 100 acres per project,” Dave said.

Karnataka lags behind several states on rate of completion of projects. Out of 714 projects, only 26% have been completed or have reached ‘operation and maintenance’ stage.

Last week, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar publicly admitted that big-ticket irrigation projects including Yettinahole and Upper Krishna had run into land acquisition trouble. The government, he said, wanted to explore renting land wherever possible.

In March 2018, the government rejigged its PPP policy for infrastructure projects that has increased the single-window sanction limit to Rs 500 crore from the existing Rs 50 crore. It also prescribes interventions to ensure better implementation of projects. “The new policy will need some time to take off because there were Assembly polls immediately after it came in place,” Dave said.

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