Monetisation of 105 road projects can easily fetch Rs 1.25 lakh crore and there is no dearth of funds for building highways, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
Monetisation of 105 road projects can easily fetch Rs 1.25 lakh crore and there is no dearth of funds for building highways, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. The road transport minister also said the highways ministry plans to complete projects worth Rs 15 lakh crore by 2019. “Now we have decided to monetise the road projects. There are 105 projects that are ready. We can easily get Rs 1.25 lakh crore from monetisation of these,” Gadkari said while addressing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank annual meeting here. The highways and shipping sectors in India today are financially very sound and offer tremendous investment opportunities under their flagship programmes — Bharatmala and Sagarmala, as well as other ongoing programmes, said Gadkari, who also holds the shipping and water resources portfolios.
Emphasising that this was the “golden time” to invest in the road and shipping sectors in the country, the minister said availability of funds is not a problem for these sectors. “My ministry can claim to save the Indian bankers from NPA of Rs 3 lakh crore” by rolling out stuck road projects through a number of initiatives, he added. All this has resulted in a heightened pace of activity in these sectors, he said and called upon private investors to bid for the upcoming access controlled expressway projects, the 14 Coastal Economic Zones and smart cities, among others. The minister also said work has already started to develop 10 out of the 111 waterways designated as National Waterways.
He said the World Bank funded Jal Marg Vikas project on river Ganga is at an advanced stage of execution. Talking about the water resources sector, Gadkari said India needs nearly Rs 3-5 lakh crore as investment for irrigation and river interlinking projects. He called upon banks and multilateral institutions to come forward with long-term or about 40 years loans at nominal interest rates for financing these projects. He said many parts of India are facing acute shortage of water, which can be solved by interlinking of rivers and checking wastage of water that flows out to the seas. He said it was the government’s priority to stop the wastage of nearly 3000 TMC of Godavari water for the benefit of the water starved Cauvery basin.
The Polavaram project is also a priority, he said. Another area for which Gadkari sought low interest funding was development of green fuels like methanol, ethanol, bio-diesel and bio-CNG. In addition to this, financing would also benefit the development of alternate and innovative modes of transport like Metrino, sea planes and Hyperloop, he said. Gadkari also announced that the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Eastern Peripheral Expressway on March 15 along with the first phase of Delhi-Meerut Expressway.