The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Private push to infrastructure

Carrying forward its agenda of involving the private sector in public projects, the state government has decided to throw open a host of infrastructure areas to the joint sector.

Roads, ports, waterways, drinking water distribution, bridges and overbridges, airports, flyovers, power, industrial water supply, drainage and township development will now be thrown open to public-private-participation in Calcutta and the rest of West Bengal.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya announced this at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday, after the cabinet approved guidelines prepared by his department.

Bhattacharya said the government was formulating different modes of implementing these projects, like BOT (build-operate-transfer), BOO (build-own-operate), BOOT (build-own-operate-transfer) and BOLT (build-own-lease-transfer).

Each project would involve the department concerned. The guidelines state that the government would allow only private bodies in some projects, and the respective departments would decide the terms.

Public-private participation already exists in housing and commercial complexes in the state. The government, which has a number of similar proposals in other sectors lying with it, wants to give the model a concrete shape in the form of a policy.

Attractive concessions will be offered to investors, and the entire process made transparent and competitive to encourage private investment.

“Credibility and competence will be given preference in choosing private partners,” Bhattacharya said.

Concessions are to be offered through bidding, and every project is being screened by a committee headed by the chief secretary, with the finance secretary and principal secretary of the departments concerned as the other members.

After the panel's approval, the project will require the nod of the minister concerned.

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