To step up the pace of highway construction in India, the government plans to invite bids for three mega projects worth Rs 14,500 crore (around $3 billion) by the end of this financial year, Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath said on Friday.
In his address at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) told the auto industry “You build the vehicles and I will build the roads.”
“We will invite bids for three mega projects by the end of this year, we are looking at mega projects in which each project for building 500 km of road will be worth $1 billion,” Nath said.
“Through these mega projects we will bring in the best practices and with corrections in the model concession agreement we will make all these mega projects very bankable,” the minister said.
“We are going to put in place 11,000 km of roads worth Rs 1 lakh crore in 2009-10 under Work Plan I,” Nath said, adding that challenges in capacity building will be addressed and all corrections in the concession agreement will be put in place by September 30.
On being asked if the government was sticking to its commitment of building 20 km of roads every day Nath said “This year, we will build more roads than last year. We will put in place a quantum jump.”
He said India’s automobile industry should aim at producing 250 lakh vehicles by 2015 for which his ministry will build the necessary road network. Earlier, he had said that 20 km of roads will be built in a day in the next two years amounting to an investment of Rs 2,00,000 crore.