The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is attempting to take forward road projects worth over Rs. 1,80,000 crore, currently stalled due to various reasons.
Addressing the National Roads and Highways Summit 2014, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi recently, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said stalled projects had resulted in huge non-performing assets in banks.
Gadkari pointed out that banks were reluctant to fund road projects due to their fear of increasing NPAs. Meetings would be held with bankers next month to resolve the issue and ensure release of funds for execution of road projects, he said, adding that his Ministry was considering taking up highway construction in the EPC mode instead of the Public Private Partnership mode for at least two years.
The MoRTH proposes to generate revenue by laying gas, optical fiber and power transmission lines along 1 lakh km national highways. It also plans amenities for highway users.
Gadkari indicated that the new government was keen to relook at the previous government’s Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, because of pressure from various state governments seeking modifications in it. The Act has made acquiring land for public projects cumbersome thereby creating hurdles in implementation of infrastructure projects. He added that an integrated approach was being adopted towards the Ministries of Railways and Defence to acquire their unutilised land for building public infrastructure such as roads and highways.
Gadkari revealed that thousands of kilometres of roads and national highways would be constructed using cement provided cement manufacturers did not form cartels and supplied it at a reasonable price. Concrete roads, he stressed, remained maintenance free for a longer period of time.