The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) has been criticised by a Parliamentary committee for spending less than 13% of the Rs 1 lakh crore outlay for the port sector in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2007-12). The committee has termed the situation as alarming.
According to reports, the MoS has been ale to spend a paltry 12.88% of the total projected plan of Rs 1,00,399 crore that has been charted out for the port sector in the 11th Plan. The panel said that it is quite alarming that the MoS has been unsuccessful at breaking grounds at performance, both physically as well as financially.
Based on the projections drawn up by the Committee of Estimates, which is chaired by Francisco Sardinha, even if the projected expenditure for the ongoing projects is taken into account, utilisation of outlays will be 46.18%. Taking into account that progress related to implementation of various projects under the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) is far from satisfactory, the committee has sought the status of incomplete projects and reasons behind delays. The committee stated that it has come to the conclusion that the MoS had not planned its projects with enough seriousness or supervised the ongoing projects to ensure their timely completion.
Out of the 276 projects identified under the NMDP through public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the MoS had planned to award 23 projects entailing cost of Rs 16,744 crore last year. However, only three projects worth Rs 8,000 crore out of the 23 during last fiscal were awarded, a delayed execution which was condemned at that point of time too.
Taking into account the slow progress of implementation of the projects, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had in April directed fast-tracking of the delayed projects. Hopefully, this will stir things up for the MoS to get to acting fast on executing the projects in its pipeline.
Priyanka Roy Chowdhury