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Delayed infrastructure projects a litmus test for Prithviraj Chavan

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 - 8:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
It will not be a very happy Diwali for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as he ponders the major administrative decisions pending that have affected the progress of development in the state.

It will not be a very happy Diwali for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as he ponders the major administrative decisions pending that have affected the progress of development in the state. The two big sectors affected are infrastructure and industry.

When he took charge of the government two years ago, Chavan had said that he would fast-track infrastructure projects. But not one of these mega projects, amounting to over Rs50,000 crore, has moved. Sources in the urban development department say that “the political conflict between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party appears to have adversely affected the smooth functioning of the administration in the state government.”

Irrigation is one of the sectors that has been hurt. Since the Rs72,000 crore scam over dams was revealed, the functioning in the water resources department has practically come to a standstill, as the minister and his officials have suddenly become cautious. The officials feel they should wait till the white paper on the irrigation sector is published, before proceeding with any new project.

Three other important works that were supposed to make a difference in the state, have also been stuck for various reasons. A proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur, the Navi Mumbai airport and the coastal road have remained on paper in the past 24 months.

Its a similarly depressing picture over the new industrial policy that was supposed to enhance domestic investment, boost employment and grow small-scale businesses.

The policy has not yet reached the cabinet for debate. “Frankly speaking, we are clueless. No reasons have been given for the inordinate delay in pronouncing the new industrial policy for the state,” said an official in the industry department.

It seems that the policy has been approved by industries minister Narayan Rane, but is pending the approval of the chief minister.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said, “There is a conflict over the special economic zones which have failed to make headway. The chief minister wants a larger discussion on the SEZ and related issues.”




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