Panaji, June 20 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said several key defence ministry projects linked to infrastructure creation like building family housing for soldiers away on posting and constructing border roads were delayed by the erstwhile UPA regime for years.
Speaking at a government function at Mandur village, 15 km from Panaji, Parrikar said he had tried to expedite pending projects ever since he assumed office.
But, he said, for the pace to match up to his satisfaction would take at least another six months.
Criticising the previous government for the delay in achieving the target of the Married Accomodation Project (MAP), Parrikar said the second phase of the project, involving 70,000 flats, would be completed by 2018.
“The first phase of 50,000 to 60,000 flats was over at that time (during the earlier National Democratic Alliance regime). From the second phase only 5,000 of the 70,000 were completed in last 10 years,” Parrikar said.
“In the last one year, the 5,000 figure has reached 16,000. And in the next year it will cross 30,000. By 2018, our target is to complete construction of 70,000 (flats),” Parrikar said.
He said border road projects too had lagged behind and that the rate construction in some projects was as slow as one foot per day.
The minister said sometimes the reasons for the delay was the non-availability of automatic drills to cut through rock.
“Some border road projects were such that they would move at the rate of only one foot per day. One foot per day. Really there are difficulties there. The rocks there are difficult to break,” he said.
“Blasting cannot be done, because the Himalayas are a very fragile mountain, the whole thing may come down.”
“We have to do localised blasting and you have to stick to drilling. They did not have automatic drill machines. We provided those and as a result from one foot we have progressed to 10 to 12 feett per day.
“Minimum, it should be 50 feet per day, only then will some projects finish in time,” Parrikar said.
“When I became defence minister, many infrastructure projects were stuck. Over the last six-seven months I tried to speed them up. It is not up to my satisfaction yet, for that it may take six months more,” he added.