Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to raise Rs 1 lakh crore through monetisation of national highways in the next five years and exhorted industry players to come forward to reap rich dividends by investing in it.
Gadkari, who holds road transport portfolio along with MSME, said this will spur growth and the funds could be roped in creating sound infrastructure.
"NHAI is planning to raise Rs 1 lakh crore through monetisation of highways under toll operate transfer (TOT) mode in the next five years,” Gadkari said addressing CII’s national conference on "Road Infrastructure – Creating Demand: Stimulating Growth”.
The minister said asset monetisation offers a good business opportunity for industry players in existing infrastructure and on the other hand it will help government in unlocking the value of investment made in creating infrastructure.
"It will be a win-win situation for both industry players and the government,” he said and added that it will result in augmenting infrastructure of the nation.
NHAI is authorised to monetise public-funded national highway projects, which are operational and are collecting toll for at least one year after commercial operation, through the TOT model on a case-to-case basis.
He also termed the launch of national asset monetisation pipeline as a pathbreaking initiative which will catalyse long-term investment in infrastructure.
Besides, he said the government is in the process of setting up a new development finance institution DFI.
The institution is being set up on a capital base of Rs 20,000 crore and will have a lending target of Rs 5 lakh crore in three years, he said and added that the government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring availability of adequate funding and infra creation during COVID-induced slowdown.
Terming National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) as the first-of-its kind initiative, the minister said that there are more than 7,300 projects under it to be implemented at a cost of Rs 111 lakh crore by 2025.
"Projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore are under implementation under NIP and projects worth Rs 34 lakh crore in the conceptualisation stage, while another Rs 22 lakh crore worth of projects are under development stage,” he said.
Road building, he said, has reached the pace of 35 km a day and is likely to be 40 km a day by the end of the month.
Terming it a phenomenal achievement, the minister said under Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala, contracts for a length of 13,521 km highways have been awarded while projects for building 16,500 km are under (detailed project report) stage.Bids have been invited for another 4,800 km length of highway projects, he said and complemented the construction industry to match the emerging demand.