Lok Sabha on July 16 approved the Demands for Grants under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for 2019-20.
Highlighting the achievements of his ministry in the last five years, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore were awarded by the Ministry during this period.
He said over 57,000 km of NH were awarded and over 40,000 km constructed in the last five years, which is an exponential rise over the figures for the previous five years.
He further said that the budget allocation for his ministry has increased by about Rs 5,000 crore. There is a 6 percent rise in allocation in Budget 2019-20 to Rs. 83,000 crore.
In addition, several innovative investment models are being worked out to attract funds for the sector. He stated that the government plans to enter the capital market to tap into the savings of the common man, with the aim of giving a high rate of return.
Bharatmala, the flagship programme, will be funded by toll revenue, private borrowing, insurance funds, pension funds and masala bonds.
Bharatmala's cost has gone up from Rs 5,35,000 crore to about Rs 8,41000 crore due to increase in cost of land acquisition. The Minister reiterated that all projects are priority and the Centre will not be skewed towards completion of any project in particular.
The Opposition raised concerns that this may lead to lack of focus on building infrastructure in the Eastern region and other disadvantaged areas such as the North East.
Gadkari responded by saying that the Delhi Mumbai expressway has been built along the backward and tribal areas of Haryana, Maharashra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. This has led to saving in land acquisition cost upto Rs 16,000 crore.
A pilot project for e-highways will be built along the Delhi-Mumbai expressway to check its viability in India. According to Gadkari, this will bring down transportation cost to Rs 12-15 per km.
Reiterating the government's resolve to provide special focus on road safety, he said the Ministry has identified 786 black spots which are prone to accidents and 300 such spots have been rectified till now.
He further informed the House that Rs 7,000 crore has been sanctioned by ADB for adopting safety measures on highways.
He assured that within four months, electronic toll collection process will be put on fast track and mandatory for easy passage of traffic, avoiding long queues in the toll plazas.
He announced that Bharat stage-VI pollution norms will be introduced by April 2020 and electric and bio fuel run vehicles will soon be on roads.The Great Diwali Discount!
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