Millennium Post

‘Green zealots stalling Rs10 lakh cr projects’

High profile scams have brought decision-making in the government to a grinding halt and projects worth over Rs 10 lakh crore are stalled for want of environmental clearances alone, HCC chairman Ajit Gulabchand has said.

Furthermore, payments worth Rs 30,000 crore are lying as unpaid dues on different government agencies, including Rs 22,000 crore alone on National Highways Authority of India, he said.

'Every decision on deciding upon such claims (the unpaid dues) is referred to a third party for decision-making to avoid the risk of being censured in this prevalent atmosphere of mistrust,' he said in his annual letter to company shareholders.

'A series of high profile scams have had an adverse effect on decision-making in government corridors... civil servants have found it expedient to hold back decision-making irrespective of the damage that such risk aversion causes to the infrastructural growth of the nation,' he said.
Seeking a change in rules of doing business by the governments, both Centre and states, he said three issues are plaguing the infrastructure and construction industry today — lack of environmental clearances, lack of decision-making and non-payment of dues by different government agencies.
'As I write to you, some 441 projects with investments valued at well over Rs 10 lakh crore (or Rs 10 trillion) have been stalled due to reasons pertaining to environmental clearance,' Gulabchand said.

Noting that the issues have been continuing for last two years, he said they 'unfortunately, have only intensified over time'.
'Quite honestly, our central and state governments will have to rework the rules of business to give comfort to decision makers, so that building infrastructure and ensuring good governance go hand-in-hand,' he added.
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