Centre plans execution of infrastructure projects worth ₹7 trillion over the next 2-3 years

Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari while addressing the National Conference on Investment Opportunities in Highways, Transport and Logistics in Mumbai on Friday invited investors and urged them to take advantage of the diverse opportunities spanning asset classes in the infrastructure sector, including highways, multimodal logistics parks, wayside amenities, ropeways, and warehousing zones.

At the conference, Gadkari said, “The internal rate of return in the road sector is very high and, hence, there is no need to worry about economic viability.”

He informed that the government has addressed the early delays due to land acquisition, and now, projects are not awarded before 90% of land acquisition is complete and environment clearances are obtained.

He cited various steps taken by his ministry to speed up road construction and asked to “Keep your confidence to 110%.”

Highlighting the benefits of projects under the Bharatmala program Gadkari said, “Travel time from Mumbai to Delhi, via road, will go down from 48 to 12 hours in one year; road and multimodal infrastructure projects will reduce logistics costs and boost manufacturing, increase exports and help the economy grow.”

The national conference also informed investors and other stakeholders about the Centre’s plan to execute infrastructure projects worth ₹7 trillion over the next 2-3 years.

Speaking on the vehicle scrapping policy, Gadkari called it a win-win situation, in which investments on a high scale can come in.”

He said 50-70 registered vehicle scrapping facilities will be set up across India over the next five years to cater to the expected demand.

Gadkari said the ₹7.5 trillion domestic automobile industry will double to ₹15 trillion in the next five years.

He also stressed the importance of alternative fuels such as ethanol.

Speaking on the government’s asset monetization program, Gadkari cited the example of the Mumbai-Pune highway, which brought a higher rate of return to the state and the Centre. “Reliance had quoted ₹3,600 crores for the project, but Maharashtra State Road Development Corp. built it for ₹1,600 crores. Subsequently, the state monetized it for ₹3,000 crores. The same project was recently monetized again for ₹8,000 crores,” he said.

“Coordinated implementation of infrastructure facilities will benefit through the Gati Shakti program. “We are doing scientific logistics effectiveness studies to identify bottlenecks in infrastructure projects. To remove bottlenecks, NHAI has identified 120 congestion points across the country; ring roads and bypasses are being built to reduce congestion in cities. After connecting all state capitals with at least four-lane national highways, we are now planning to have expressways connecting all-important economic centers.”

Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Ministry of road transport and Highway

“To facilitate work of contractors, we have thrown out all provisions which caused disputes and caused contractors a lot of pain and loss. NHAI held meetings with managing directors of contractors and concessionaire companies and based on honest dialogue, problems in highway construction have been addressed. This has resulted in the record road construction of 37km per day last year,” he added.

NHAI chairperson Alka Upadhyaya said it was developing facilities and allied infrastructure under the PM Gati Shakti National Plan.

“The new thrust is on the development of allied highway initiatives like multi-modal logistics parks, last-mile connectivity through ropeway projects, and fiber cables along the national highways. Almost 8,400km of greenfield expressways are being built as part of the Bharatmala Pariyojana. These corridors will change the face of national highways infrastructure and supercharge India to a $5 trillion economy,” she added.

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