Nath’s roadmap: Rs 100K-cr road projects

Less than a week after the finance minister unveiled a budget that gives thrust to infrastructure development...

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published:July 11, 2009 4:06 am

Less than a week after the finance minister unveiled a budget that gives thrust to infrastructure development,the government has started working out the basics of the mega plan. The government plans to invest Rs 1,00,000 crore to build 12,000 kilometres of national highways (NHs) in this fiscal and raise around $10 billion from overseas investors over the next 30 months to build roads and highways.

“We will concentrate on road and NH projects in which we will have a quantum jump across the country. For this project,we would opt for both equity and debt routes to raise funds,” road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath told reporters at the ‘Building India: Road Infrastructure Summit’. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to invite bids worth Rs 60,500 crore over the next six months for building 6,500 kms of highway.

Nath said the government will focus on the toll model for these projects and the “(ministry’s) objective is to be able to build up specialised tolling companies,like in Western companies”. “We are working on the plans for this huge investment. Around 60 per cent of the investment is targeted from road tolls while the rest 20 per cent each is expected to come equally from annuity and engineering,procurement and construction for development for the road project in the country,” Nath said.

“In implementing the projects,we will work on models which will attract bids and the first preference will be on toll models and the government plans to invite bids for tolls,” Nath said. The government,in association with the country’s second largest lender ICICI Bank,plans to conduct road-shows to attract investors in Asia,Europe and the US,the minister said. “It will demonstrate our seriousness and will bring in best technology and best practices,” he said.

As far as raising funds is concerned,Nath is confident that he will meet the challenges ahead. “With a view to woo global investors to fund domestic infrastructure projects,the government is planning to come out with innovative bidding models. At this point of time,we are also looking to build up specialised tolling companies as in Europe,” Nath said.

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