Government clears investment hurdles, gives go ahead to seven projects worth Rs 21,000 crore The Narendra Modi government has cleared seven big-ticket investment projects worth Rs 21,000 crore, some of whom have been held up for decades, because of hurdles ranging from environmental issues to financing problems. The oldest among them, which has been on the drawing board for over 30 years, is a 235 kilometre railway line that is critical to tap Chhattisgarh's second largest iron ore reserves and ensure the survival of the Bhilai Steel Plant whose current iron ore. The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) which is partly funding the rail project along with NMDC, had first proposed tapping the iron ore riches in Chhattisgarh's Rowghat area in 1983. A vital second stage forest clearance for the Rs 1,105-crore railway line between Dallirajhra and Jagdalpur in the Naxal-affected Bastar district has now been signed off by new environment and forest minister Prakash Javadekar. Apart from this railway line, red-tape problems plaguing a major hydro-electricity project in Sikkim that has been in the works since 2005, a 120-kilometre six-lane highway in Karnataka, a four million tonne iron ore processing plant being set up by state-run NMDC in Chhattisgarh and three major power projects that could raise India's electricity generation capacity by over 3,500 MW, have also been fixed. "The resolution of long-pending issues for big investment projects has started in earnest under the new government, with policy problems facing seven large projects having been resolved already," said a senior government official aware of the development. This official said while under the previous UPA regime, the Cabinet Committee on Investments and the project monitoring group in the cabinet secretariat merely facilitated clearances, this government will closely track the progress of all projects to ensure that approvals translate into actual production activity on the ground and help revive the economy. The finance ministry has helped resolve financing issues facing three power projects, including the hydropower project in Sikkim that is 94% complete and was to be commissioned by this December. The Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry were roped in to help expedite a loan sanction from the Power Finance Corporation for the Sikkim project. Chief minister Pawan Chamling is betting on revenues from the hill-state's hydro-power potential to turn the state debt-free by next financial year. A Rs 5,600-crore 1,050 MW power project in Odisha, being developed by KVK Nilachal Power, also had financing troubles due to implementation delays. A consortium of lenders has agreed to treat its loans as 'standard assets' by adjusting overdue interest from its undisbursed term loan. Similarly, a financing problem holding up a Rs 9,000 crore power project in Chhattisgarh developed by RKM Powergen to generate 1,440 MW of power, has been resolved after talking to its lenders' consortium which includes Power Finance Corporation, Bank of Baroda and Corporation Bank. Another Rs 1,256 crore project mooted by Essar Power to re-start its 1,015 MW gas-based plants in Gujarat's Hazira has also been expedited with a state environmental appraisal committee being formed.