In a freewheeling interview with Sumantra Das, Suneet K Maheshwari, Managing Director and Chief Executive of L&T Infrastructure Finance, says that it is time for implementation rather than discussions.Which are the issues hampering infrastructure projects in India?There are mainly three reasons. First and the most immediate one is government departments are not paying in time. For instance, NHAI dues are aggregating upwards of Rs 25,000 crore. Some are disputed and others are not. If you ask NHAI they will deny any payments are due, but that is not the [right] answer. The government will need to be practical, in that somebody has done the work and money has been spent. Our quick estimate on account of these two and a few others even people like PowerGrid and BSNL not paid is nothing short of Rs 150,000 crore. If even 50 per cent of this payment goes to the private sector it is going to give them a lot of liquidity and get them back in investment cycle. Today no infra company is interested in spending anything for any fresh investments as lack of payments due one of the key one.Secondly, land acquisition is an age old problem in India for which the new land bill is also not a solution. Land acquisition for factories I can understand you can put the owners on private sector. But for infrastructure I find it rather funny that the government says it does not have any money to spend on infrastructure. It is rather private sectors headache to acquire land, since it is a private project. The third is the plethora of approvals. Particularly NHAI and Central Government authorities there are a lot of approvals that come not only at that level but also at state government level and somehow that has not been working in a coordinated fashion.Do you think Cabinet Committee of Investment (CCI) would act as a catalyst for infrastructure sector?I would like to see the Government notification. I do not think any of these things that have been talked about have been notified. Too many layers of approvals do not work. We had talked about that there should be a focused attention for infrastructure and a permanent mechanism to be created for the purpose. The proposed body will be headed by Prime Minister and operations can be done by secretary level people headed by cabinet secretary But, at the end of the day government has to take with one version and done with it. Now, it is the time to implement it rather than discussing it again and again.Are private infrastructure players suffering due lack of liquidity inflow?Yes. In India there is no good project that has not suffered due to financing. Why should I, as a lender, want to extend finance to an infrastructure company who is not getting payments from the government and whose balance sheet is not good. While, banks are busy with debt restructuring, they are not financing any new deals. There are a couple of dozen of projects to my knowledge that are suffering just because of this issue. How can a project go on if no sponsor has any equity money to put in? Capital markets balance sheets are not in good health, payments are not coming and they are in losses and are getting restructured. And they have no access to greater debt market. Besides, IPO market has not opened up, private equity has also dried up.What would be the solution for long term infrastructure loan as secondary market yet to develop in India?At the moment, it does not matter whether there is a short term loan or long term loan. Infra projects need financing over more than five years. So banks have a challenge in terms of the fact that their liability sources are not long term. We do not have a deep enough debt market for 10 year plus so how are we going to work out that asset liability mismatch. So, clearly there is a problem and if there is another thing government needs to fix is this creation of long term debt money. Developing such financial markets is also a developmental task that the government will have to initiate first time. Once it gets done then government need not interfere. But, in the first five years government support would be necessary. We have given a lot of suggestions on this through expand. The only shorter term solution, I see is the creation of IDFs, which we believe will happen this year. There will be some roll outs, so we hope that might add to this fixed income investors participating in infrastructure projects via IDF. So not directly, but indirectly, some market development may happen.Do you think PPP is a successful model for infrastructure development in India?It has given mixed results. I would not say it is bad. If we look at some of the best examples of PPP happened in infrastructure. Sectors such as telecom and aviation have done well. These two are best example of how private sector participation in infrastructure has been a hit. In other areas I believe implementation did not happen as smoothly as it should have been due to variety of reasons. I would say is largely where private sector was given complete freehand, it has worked well. I think if velocity of money will increase then all of us will do well, country will do well and government will also have more taxes.What kind of expectations do you have from 2013?I expect FY 2013-2014 to be somewhat better than last year. Last year, I believe was worse than 2008-2009. It was probably as bad as 1996-97 post Asian crisis both being implemented in safe time. The sad part of it that time we had something like South East Asian crisis and this we had nothing but us. It is nothing to do with what is happening overseas. This is made by us.How do you see financing routes such as External Commercial Borrowings (ECB), bank loans?ECB’s will not be for infrastructure. For shorter tenure industry requirement there will be a solution. But longer tenure ECB will not work out because our currency is not stable and has been fluctuating too much so landed cost means hedged cost of dollar loan today is slightly more expensive than rupee cost. So, it does not make sense. Otherwise there is a lot of liquidity available for India appetite. If as a country we can make our currency a little more stable which again is a part of fiscal deficit. And, if we can create a stable currency then probably there will be a lot more money coming from overseas which is really long tenure fixed income.