Urban transportation is a crucial component of urban infrastructure: ASSOCHAM

Urban transportation is a crucial component of urban infrastructure: ASSOCHAM



Kolkata: Urban transportation is a crucial component of urban infrastructure within the country, but the huge escalation of costs of some of the major transportation projects has been causing concern to the government. This view was expressed here on Tuesday by Joint Secretary Ministry of Finance, Kumar Vinay Pratap while inaugurating a national workshop on Mass Rapid transport system for Urban India, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The day long event was also held as a prelude to a similar event, to be organised by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in association with the Union Ministry of Finance and Urban Transport soon. Today's programme which was inaugurated by Dr Pratap was also attended by among others by Mukul Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary Urban Transport, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Soon-Sik Lee, Senior Investment Operations Specialist, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Beijing.
Expressing serious concern at the soaring cost of projects and trying to find a way out Dr Pratap reiterated that this had happened in spite of the fact that that urban transportation was a crucial component of urban infrastructure.But at the same he also expressed hope that from the deliberations in the workshop a blueprint could be chalked out to address these issues before finding a solution to ensure economic viability and innovative financing to augment revenues in these projects through the PPP model. Also speaking on the occasion Soon SiK Lee representing AIIB shared the organisation's objectives and the current investment scenario in India and said in spite of several hurdles they had been trying to meet some of the criteria in terms of bringing more foreign direct investment in the country to help support these high cost projects.
Currently AIIB was involved in financing as many as 5 such projects in India with as many more projects remaining under its 'active consideration', Lee said. Mukund Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary Ministry of Urban development in his speech highlighted various aspects of financially sustainable operations of urban transportation projects and hinted on the possibilities of generating non fare revenue to balance the public policy objective in this sector.
Among others while Rakesh Ranjan of Niti Aayog underscored the need for greater cooperation and synergy among all stakeholders and various innovative ideas,and sought more suggestions from other eminent panelists on the issue, Director ASSOCHAM Perminder Kaur felt that Infrastructure development was essential for social and economic sustainability of the nation. Though it was significant to have external funds, the interest of the local industry should also be taken care of by the authorities, she remarked on the sidelines of the meet later.

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