Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) is leaving no stone unturned to improve infrastructure to facilitate urban development. From healthcare to transport facility, it is working on every front, says R S Bal, Director, Projects and Finance, PIDB, in an exclusive interview with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN).
The PIDB has undertaken many steps to make the state beautiful and smart in true sense. Tell us about some of the ongoing projects?
PIDB is making one convention centre cum hotel each at Mohali and Amritsar. In addition, we are building one exhibition centre too in Ludhiana.
Then we have a very important project in Ranjit Sagar dam, an ecotourism destination planned over there. The project involves 77 acres of land and is waiting for the environmental clearance at the moment.
We have built Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Jalandhar in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. A medical institute in Gurdaspur is at planning stage. The model of the project will be slightly different than the one in Jalandhar; it will be a Greenfield project.
We are working on an internal mobility plan for Patiala city. It is needed as the bus stand had to be moved out of the city to a new location which changed the entire public mobility dynamics. The mobility plan is required so that the public do not face any inconvenience. In this light, we are planning to start a minibus service along with e-rickshaws or some other e-vehicles.
We are making bus stations at Patiala, Roop Nagar, Raipur Kalan and Mansa; the last three are at the structuring stage; Patiala is already in the bidding stage.
This seems to be a rather big project with 77 acres of land involved. What components will it have?
It will basically have eco-huts, ecotourism, maybe a small convention centre, water sports and some trekking. It will be made according to the eco-tourism policy of the State. The ecology of the area will not be disturbed in any manner.
We have opened a Kikar lodge; it is a first of its kind private development project in Punjab.
Tell us about Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary
Harike holds importance from the bird watching point of view and ecological study. Earlier, resort was not there. Project of similar scale was not planned earlier. They had planned something for the Amritsar tourists, to make them visit Harike. That plan was there, but not a full-fledged resort where a person can go and stay. A total of Rs 450 crore is the cost of the project.
In Amritsar, which are the projects in the pipeline?
In Amritsar we are trying to stabilise Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project which we have recently implemented. Present ridership is around 30,000 and we intend to take that ridership up to 45,000 or so, in another few months. We are also leveraging local Frequency Modulated (FM) radio channels, meeting different pubic groups to make them aware of the public transport system and its usages. Then we are doing another project, which will connect four cities: Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar. That is the operation and maintenance of the existing industrial focal points. Basically the infrastructure in industrial states is not very good.
“In Amritsar we are trying to stabilize Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project which we have recently implemented. Present ridership is around 30,000 and we intend to take that ridership up to 45,000 or so, in another few months.”
The maintenance is not of good standards. For that, we are trying to bring in a private player/partner who will be entitled to collect the property tax and maintenance charges from the plot holders, the industrial houses over there. In turn they will manage the entire area that is the road, infrastructure, street lighting, and water supply.
Shed light on Qila Mubarak project.
Another project in the pipeline is the Qila Mubarak, Ranbas, which is a heritage hotel. It will be completed in another six months. Tourism department is doing the restoration work. Once the restoration work gets completed, then we will be doing the bidding and getting in a private sector player.
Who will be potential bidders for the project?
All those people who are operating on similar such projects. It may be Taj, Neemrana Group, Oberoi’s, whosoever is into heritage hotels. All those will be the potential bidders in this project.