Why are banks dithering on loans for road sector, asks Nitin Gadkari

By: | Published: September 27, 2016 10:04 PM

Chiding bankers for delaying loan proposals for road projects, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today wondered why they did not exercise the same caution earlier when the sector was facing difficulties.

Giving details of how his ministry had worked to reduce the number of pending projects, Gadkari said he had saved the banks from billions of rupees of bad loans by faster clearances. (PTI)Giving details of how his ministry had worked to reduce the number of pending projects, Gadkari said he had saved the banks from billions of rupees of bad loans by faster clearances. (PTI)

Chiding bankers for delaying loan proposals for road projects, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today wondered why they did not exercise the same caution earlier when the sector was facing difficulties.

“I have some reservations with the bankers. When everything is clear, we are taking 8-10 months for financial closure. But when there was a bad situation, they financed,” the minister said at the third edition of the SBI Banking and Economic Conclave here this evening.

Giving details of how his ministry had worked to reduce the number of pending projects, Gadkari said he had saved the banks from billions of rupees of bad loans by faster clearances.

When he took the office in May 2014, there were 403 stuck projects with an underlying investment of Rs 3.86 trillion, which had now come down to just eight projects, Gadkari said.

“I would request all of you to invest in the road sector. We’ve a lot of potential, we’ve increased the road length, economic viability is good, internal rate of return is good,” he said.

The minister said unlike in the past, there are no major issues regarding land acquisition now. “There is no problem, even with utilities there’s no problem in acquiring land. I know there was bad history,” he said.

The length of the national highways has been increased to 1.62 lakh km from 96,000 km in two years, he said, adding that his ministry has more aggressive plans to increase the road network.

The minister, however, rued that there are not enough contractors who can undertake road construction work. To overcome this, his ministry is planning to “pre-qualify” realty players who are reeling under stress for road building works, he said.

He will meet ministers from Afghanistan and Iran tomorrow for a road project extending to Central Asia, he said.

Gadkari also said he will be meeting representatives of US-based Tesla to discuss the high-speed Hyperloop train.

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