Task Force on Infrastructure

Chairman, Jaswant Singh Open Web-letter from
Shri Jaswant Singh

Dear Investor,

You might be aware that the Prime Minister of India had announced the construction of a 7000 Km highway from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Saurashtra to Silchar, traversing the length and breadth of the country. He had also announced that 5 worldclass international airports would be established in the country.

2. In order to give effect to this pronouncement, the Prime Minister constituted a Task Force on Infrastructure to primarily concentrate on:

  1. six lane expressway of 7,000 km. length, having North-South and East-West corridors,

  2. four-laning of National Highways, and

  3. five world-class international airports

3. The composition of the Task Force was as follows:-

Shri Jaswant Singh

Deputy Chairman,
Planning Commission

Chairperson

Shri M. Thambi Durai

Minister,
Surface Transport

Member

Shri Ananth Kumar

Minister,
Civil Aviation

Member

Shri Deepak Parekh

Chairman, IDFC

Member

Shri Anand Mahindra

Managing Director,
Mahindra Ford

Member

Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport

Member

Secretary,
Ministry of Civil Aviation

Member

Shri N.K. Singh

Secretary to PM

Member Secretary




4. The Terms of Reference given to the Task Force were clearly spelt out and are given below:

  1. To determine the routes for the expressways and National Highway, and establish technical parameters thereof;

  2. To identify and recommend locations for the airports;

  3. To establish benchmarks and criteria for the airports;

  4. To recommend financing options for express way, highways and airports;

  5. To recommend cirteria for competitive bidding and selection of (EPC) contractors;

  6. To recommend measures as are necessary for timely completion of projects including governmental clearances; and

  7. To oversee and monitor timely implementation of the projects.

5. The Task Force has met three times since its constitution. The important decisions taken by the Task Force have been :

  1. The Golden Quadrangle i.e. the ongoing project of linking the four metropolitan cities would be merged with North-South, East West corridor as announced by the Prime Minister so that a priority is given to the projects in this sector. This recommendation has been accepted by the Prime Minister.

  2. 20 places from where this work can immediately begin have been identified and work is going to be started within this year.

  3. Innovative ways of procuring finance for the project are being worked out. The Task Force has recommended some self financing measures to partially meet the cost of construction.

  4. The bid document has been prepared by the Ministry of Surface Transport and would be ready for distribution on the 28th of December, 1998.

  5. Cement concreting of road surfaces would be done, wherever possible.

6. Subsequently, the mandate given to the Task Force was enlarged by the Prime Minister. It was desired that the Task Force should formulate an Integrated National Transport Policy to strengthen our transport infrastructure. The Task Force was asked to recommend steps that can subsequently improve and foster reforms in key segments of the economy. This Transport Policy would combine our existing rail, road and inland water transport system and link them with our ports and airports. Consequently, the Task Force is currently engaged in finalising an integrated transport policy. In a subsequent international conference on the subject, the Prime Minister again emphasised the importance of roads. He said that the Government would spend 42 percent more on roads this year as compared to last year. In addition, an extra Rs. 790 crore have been set aside for highway development, by a cess on petrol. He stated that the Government’s policy invites private investment in road infrastructure - both domestic and foreign. He would urged the conference to come up with specific suggestions to increase private investment in expressways.

7. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified more than 5 airports, which should be upgraded to worldclass international airports. The Task Force has decided to approach the Prime Minister and take his clearance to upgradation of more than 5 such airports. It has been decided that work on Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore airports will start immediately, within this fiscal year.

8. The Airport Authority of India would be corporatised, and as a first step, corporatisation would begin with Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore airports.

9. A comprehensive airport policy with a view to establish worldclass international airports with 100 per cent private participation is also being formulated.

10. In the context of the above mentioned developments, I am sure, you will be interested in participating in the nation building activities - especially in the development of infrastructure in India. I look forward to your positive response.

With best wishes for the New Year,

Yours faithfully,

Signature

(Jaswant Singh)

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