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Montek spells out unfolding of an infrastructure boom

By Staff
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Hyderabad May 4, (UNI) Stressing on the huge investments needed in the field of infrastructure emanating from the rapid growth of the Indian economy, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today asked the Asian countries to participate in a larger measure in the 'India growth story' which is unfolding.

''Your investment will yield high returns as enunciated in the various Model Cocessional Agreements that have been worked out relating to various sectors,'' Dr Ahluwalia said while addressing a session christened 'Advantage India,' organised as part of the 39th Annual Meeting of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Dr Ahluwalia visualised a bigger role for the ADB in the development of India's infrastructure, which he felt would help step up growth and lead to poverty allieviation.

As a mark of special respect to the host country, and given the advantages that the high growth potential offers to the international investor community, the 'Advantage India' session was organsied as a part of the Annual mega- event.

The sessions, which ran throughout the day, were broken up into three parts. A session was addresed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram and ADB President H Kuroda; another by Dr Ahluwalia and the third by Chief Ministers of various states.

The event has been organsied at the sprawling Hyderabad International Convention Centre and is being attended by Finance Ministers from 39 countries and delegates from 66 countries.

Dr Ahluwalia said India was hungry for investments in the infrastructure sector and, on a modest estimate, these could be in the region of 150 billion dollars.

He then gave details of investment requirements relating to the key areas of ports, roads and airports.

Regarding airport modernisation, Dr Ahluwalia expected 15 to 16 per cent per annum growth in air traffic which would require huge investments.

He said two greenfield projects would come up soon in Hyderabad and Bangalore and stated that by 2009, modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports would be complete.

Stating that the 40,000 km road network would be developed by 2012 with an estmated cost of 50 billion dollars, Dr Ahluwalia said 19,600 km road projects have been approved under the Public-Private Partnerships framework.

He said 6,500 km roads would be built as six lanes, while 4 and 2 lane roads would laid at 2,100 km and 10,000 km length respectively. Besides, 10,000 km new Express Way projects were also in the pipeline.

The ADB is assisting in the development of diferent phases of the National Highway Development Programme.

Talking about the modernisation plans of the port sector, Dr Ahluwalia said 54 new berths would be constructed under the PPP framework entailing an investment of 12 billion dollars by 2012.

The Plan Panel Deputy Chief said 'Model Concessional Agreements' were being finalised in this regard.

Talking about the road and rail connectivity projects in progress, Dr Ahluwalia said Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for the dedicated freight corridors connecting the metros by rail would soon be set up.

Apart from the five greenfield airport projects, Dr Ahluwalia said 35 other airports would be developed in the near future.

Funds needed in this regard could go upto 9 billion dollars.

Stressing the need for effective and independent regulatory authorities, Dr Ahluwalia said an Airport Economic Regulatory Authority would be establsihed at the earliest.

He said a new Civil Aviation Policy was on the anvil, apart from revaming the Airports Authority of India.

UNI AP/GS RA VC1710

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