Toll collection only after highway project completed: Gadkari

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 15 2014, 08:12am hrs
Minister for road transport & highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said toll collection for a national highway could commence only after completion of the project. At present, the collection of toll starts after a project is 75% complete.

"The policy of road toll collection is proposed to be changed in a way that such a collection is made only after 100% of the project is completed instead of the current practice of 75%," Gadkari told the Lok Sabha.

He said the toll collection will be stopped once the cost of the project is recovered, regardless of whether the concession period ended or not.

Economic slowdown has reduced the toll collection in the last few years. On the toll earnings of the highway authority, Gadkari said: "The revenue share of NHAI is about Rs 6,000 crore now and expected to reach Rs 8,000 crore with the economic recovery."

The government is trying hard to help the sector recover from economic slowdown, he said, adding he had held discussions with financial institutions to fund projects that they were reluctant to lend to, in the light of the huge NPAs in the sector.

In another reply to Lok Sabha, Gadkari said banks are not willing to fund road and PPP projects in the sector. He said due to lower GDP growth in the recent past, tariffs from highways have also gone down, making the sector unviable for PPP projects.

In a bid to convince banks, the ministry met top bankers on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to hold a meeting with banks on the issue, he said.