Every second car and motor bike, every third bicycle and a majority of the tractors, refrigerators and other consumer durables made in India are produced in Haryana. Gurgaon has emerged as the third-largest information technology (IT) hub in the country after Bangalore and Hyderabad; IT and IT-enabled service exports from the state crossed Rs 22,000 crore in 2009-10. Haryana raced ahead of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in implementation of investments pledged during 2008-09, achieving 70 per cent conversion rate.
And yet, quality of life is very poor for office-goers and residents of Haryana's star town Gurgaon, which is now on the world map. Traffic jams, power shortages, water supply…the list of headaches goes on. Haryana's only chief minister to have returned to office after a five-year term, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, says he will not only fix Gurgaon's problems but also create five such cities minus its woes. Hooda discussed his plans for the state as well as its problems and achievements in an interview with BT's Puja Mehra. Edited excerpts:
On the acute deficit of infrastructure in Gurgaon:
We have developed a new Master Plan for Gurgaon. We are spending about Rs 700 crore to develop the old Gurgaon area. By this year-end, a new canal will start supplying 500 cusecs of water to Gurgaon, making it self-reliant on that front. While multilevel parking lots are being built to ease pressure, exit channels into the highways are being created to ease the traffic problems.
We are going to give Haryana five more "Gurgaons" - at Rohtak, Faridabad, Ambala, Hisar and Kharkhoda. This time all the plans for the infrastructure have been worked out beforehand for these new "Gurgaons" that will be industrial model townships, or IMTs.
On the slow pace of progress in special economic zones (SEZs):
We have received proposals for setting up 100 SEZs of which 94 are in the National Capital Region (NCR). Of the proposals, 70 are in the IT sector, 11 multiproduct, 14 single product and five are multiservices SEZs. The Centre has approved 46 proposals, including 34 in the IT sector. Progress has been slow, but I am sure it will pick up. Three SEZs have already started operations and five more are in various stages of implementation.
On severe power shortages:
When I assumed charge, we had availability of about 4,000 MW capacity. Factoring in a 9-10 per cent growth in demand, there will be no shortages after two years. This is because five mega power generation projects at Yamunanagar, Hisar, Jhajjar (two) and Faridabad are on the anvil. Of these, the first two have already been implemented and the rest will be ready in five years. Considering the load growth in the NCR and keeping in view the environmental concerns, we are phasing out the 3x55 MW coal-based thermal power plant at Faridabad and requesting the Centre for allocation of gas on priority for a 1,500 MW gas-based plant at Faridabad.
Besides, from 2011-12, the Haryana Power Generation Corporation will draw 1,450 MW from the Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) being developed around the country. Last October, the Centre gave an in-principle approval for a 2,800-MW (4x700 MW) nuclear power plant to be built by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India in Fatehabad district. Under the first phase, 2x700 MW generation capacity should come up by 2017-18.
On missing deadlines for mega infrastructure projects:
I agree there have been slip-ups in implementation of several mega infrastructure projects. I have put all such projects on the fast track and constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure for facilitating quick decision-making and close monitoring of those projects.
The original completion schedule for the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway was July 2009. But it will take another year to complete. By November 1, 2010, the first phase will be ready. The delay has been due to a number of reasons, including litigation, laxity of the concessionaires, modifications in the designs by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and delays in approvals from the Railways for overhead bridges.
Please don't forget that the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (the 105-km Kundli-Ghaziabad-Noida-Faridabad expressway), which is being implemented by the NHAI, is far behind schedule. Then, we have also initiated a number of projects for upgrading the state/national highways, including the Gurgaon-Faridabad Highway and six-laning of the Delhi-Rohtak segment of NH-10.
On weak trunk infrastructure and concern over delays in the Haryana stretches of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), especially the KMP Expressway:
I believe we are amongst the fastest states progressing on the DMIC. We have finalised the four Early Bird Projects out of which three have been taken up by the DMIC for pre-feasibility study. The delineation of the Manesar-Bawal Investment Region has been completed and master planning is underway. This will facilitate the development of trunk infrastructure in the state.
We have already identified land for an exhibition-cumconvention centre for which the ownership model is being discussed with the Central government. We have also finalised the location for a logistics hub along the dedicated freight corridor. The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) kept on revising the alignment of corridor through the state. Since it has now frozen the plan, we will also finalise the site delineation for the logistics hub shortly.
Work is underway for the other major initiatives within the DMIC subregion. The DMIC is working on the plan for tapping the flood waters from Tajewala Barrage to augment the water supply for the Manesar-Bawal Investment Region. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has approved the site shortlisted by us for a cargo airport, and we have formally approached the Ministry of Civil Aviation for its clearance.
On the state being the country's top industrial investment destination:
In 2005, Haryana was ranked 14th on industrial investments received by states and today it is No. 1. During the last five years, we attracted investments worth Rs 45,000 crore. The pipeline has Rs 1 trillion. A recent study by ASSOCHAM showed Haryana achieved 70 per cent implementation rate for investments pledged during the economic slowdown of 2008-2009 ahead of states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
On the new industrial policy to be unveiled in September 2010:
It would be a comprehensive industrial and investment policy. We will offer single window deemed clearances in the shortest time. Focus will also be on public-private partnerships for facilitating infrastructure development, skill development, labour welfare and greater interaction between the government and the industry.
On competition from Noida and Greater Noida owing to lower wage costs:
I am really surprised that you should raise this issue particularly when my people are enjoying the benefits of a growing economy, higher standards of living and salary packages. My government has chosen to raise the minimum labour wage rates to facilitate equitable growth. We have also revised floor rates and announced annuity payments for compulsory acquisitions of land by the government under the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy. This has afforded better compensation and continued livelihood to farmers.