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Rs 20-crore fund to hunt for projects
- Sum to help hire experts

Guwahati, Aug. 31: In an attempt to encourage government departments to identify viable projects under the public-private partnership, Dispur has set up a fund of Rs 20 crore, which will help them hire consultants and prepare bid documents.

“Making bid documents and getting consultants is an expensive affair for departments and this is why a project development fund of Rs 20 crore has been set up. A department of the government seeking to develop a project to be undertaken in the public-private partnership mode will be entitled to seek sanction from this fund for project development,” a senior official in planning and development department said.

The move demonstrates that the government is serious in its intention to invest in public-private partnership and is going all out to attract private partners for the projects.

Two experts from the Asian Development Bank have been stationed at Guwahati to identify and develop projects in the public-private partnership mode.

The planning and development department has asked each department to nominate a person as the nodal officer to identify such projects.

Public Private Partnership refers to an agreement between government and the private sector regarding the provision of public services or infrastructure.

“It is a means of bringing together social priorities with the managerial skills of the private sector, relieving government of the burden of large capital expenditure, and transferring the risk of cost overruns to the private sector,” the official said.

Backed by a strong public private partnership policy, the government has already identified 20 projects, which are in various stages of negotiation.

The projects posed for public private partnership are in six sectors — urban, power, education, health, sport and road and together have been valued at more than Rs 4,000 crore.

“We are looking at how the projects can be made bankable. We will have to convince the investors on the sustainability of the project so that they come ahead and take interest,” the official said.

He said an apex authority, with the chief minister as the chairman, will grant the principle approval for all projects proposed to be developed in public-private partnership mode.

All such projects with investments above Rs 100 crore will require approval from the apex authority.

“An empowered committee on public private partnership shall be the nodal agency to achieve the policy goals and co-ordinate with various authorities of the state and Union government to facilitate private sector investment in developing infrastructure through this mode,” the official said.

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