The government’s road and highway building programme has enough cash to build the crucial infrastructure, Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has said. “We have signed contracts worth Rs 5 lakh crore for infrastructure, roads, ports. It is a remarkable contribution from our investors. We do not have any problem, we are receiving public, private investment… we are receiving good response for the Public-Private Partnership, Build-Operate-Transfer and hybrid annuity (models),” Gadkari told Assocham TV in an interview. As per the 2017-18 Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this month, the AAA-rated National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been permitted to raise Rs 70,000 crore through infrastructure bonds, he said.
“For NHAI, triple-AAA rating is there. We already have permission from the Finance Minister for raising Rs 70,000 crore infrastructure bonds.” “My toll income is Rs 10,000 crore per year. So, I can monetise for 15 years and I get Rs 2 lakh crore. There are 101 projects which are ready with where I am going to monetise and I will get Rs 1.25 lakh crore… so, money is not the problem,” he added. Besides, there is easy availability of low-cost overseas loans, the minister said.
“We are getting Rs 3,000 crore in dollar loans with 2.25 per cent interest, and we can raise Rs 50,000 crore without hedge with two per cent interest”. Gadkari was responding to a question by Assocham TV about how realistic the plans for the transport sector were when the private sector was facing severe financial stress. He also said his ministry was working on a number of waterway projects for improving inland connectivity within big metros like Mumbai, as well as for inter-city connectivity.