$80-b investment on roads, highways expected in 4 yrs

Written by Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 31 2009, 05:09am hrs
The Centre is envisaging an investment of $80 billion for construction of roads and highways over the next four years with more than half of the money expected from private and foreign investors. Over the next four years, we are looking at an investment of $80 billion in construction of roads and highways. Of this, $42 billion is expected from the private sector, Union road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday. The government also plans to put up 120 projects, covering 12,000- km roads, for bidding in the next 8-10 months, Nath said. There are projects under the process of tendering at present. We plan to bid out 12,000 km roads in the next 8-10 months, which means there will be 120 projects up for bidding. This is likely to bring in an investment of $ 20 billion, he said. The Centre is also considering a proposal to relax external commercial borrowing norms (ECBs). We want all inclusive growth. It is just not about mere connectivity. We want to ease the sector up as much as possible and for that ECB norms needs to be relaxed. We are in talks with the finance ministry on the matter, Nath said. He said his ministry was looking to achieve the target of building 20 km of road per day, which amounts to 7,000 km of road annually. We have built 2,000-km roads and will close this financial year with a total of 3,000 km, Nath said.