Kochi: ‘Metro Man’ Dr. E Sreedharan today called for project-specific concession agreements on public-private partnerships (PPP) to make them financially attractive to the private sector. Talking at the sectoral session on infrastructure development, Dr Sreedharan made a strong case for speedy bureaucratic approvals to ensure timely completion of the projects. The “unique work culture” he inculcated among his staff was the key to the success of his two projects – Konkan railway and Delhi Metro, he said.
“A delay in the execution of Phase-1 of Delhi Metro project would have resulted in a loss of Rs 1.5 crore each day. For the second phase of Delhi Metro, loss for each day beyond the deadline would have been Rs 2.5 crore. For Kochi Metro, the loss would be Rs 40 lakh every day. Thus, speedy approvals are key to the timely completion of the projects,” said Dr Sreedharan, who is now the Principal Advisor of DMRC which is executing the Kochi Metro project.
“Private players look for reasonable returns and the Government should evolve concession agreements on a project basis. No common parameters would work for all PPP projects. Kochi Metro project was delayed by seven years since the Central Government wanted the private participation. But private players did not find it financially viable as internal rate of return (IRR) was just 3 per cent,” he said. Dr Sreedharan said strong political will, positive and forward-looking bureaucracy, timely approvals, and meticulous planning would be crucial factors to make the PPP models successful.
He also called for mutual trust between the Government and the private players. At the same time, private players should not resort to unethical practices like inflating the project costs.
Delivering the inaugural address at the session, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and HRD Shri E Ahamed called for a positive and cooperative attitude by all to take Kerala forward and hoped that the meet would usher in a new wave of change. Listing out the priorities that Kerala should attend to, he said construction of new roads and upgrading the existing ones was imperative. He also asked Kerala to follow the European model for developing waterways in a big way as the state was blessed with plenty of rivers.
Development of ports on PPP models and short-term projects like non-stop trains between key stations and short-distance trains should also be targeted along with long-term projects like the High Speed Rail Corridor, the Minister suggested.
Kerala Biz News