Funding no issue for $70-bn highway projects: Kamal Nath | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Funding no issue for $70-bn highway projects: Kamal Nath

delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2009 16:37 IST

Funding will not be a problem as India gets ready to execute over 150 projects worth some $70 billion to spruce up its network of highways and roads in the next three years, said Road, Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The minister, who is personally overseeing all road shows to attract money for one of the country's largest public-private initiatives on roads and highways, said speedy development of this infrastructure was a priority for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

"Investment will not be an issue where roads are concerned. We've got to put certain things in order. In the next 10 months we are inviting huge amount of bids," Kamal Nath told an industry conference in New Delhi.

"Our target is 7,000 km every year. We may not be able to achieve it this year, since it needs capacity building of our consultants, contractors and the National Highways Authority of India. But we will be on track as the result of capacity building."

The minister said out of the overall investment of $70 billion in the roads and highways sector, private participation was pegged at $40 billion, of which $10 billion was expected from foreign investors.

"When I said I need $10 billion, they said that is easily available," he said, referring to his interactions with the potential overseas investors.

Kamal Nath, who has already held talks with investors from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, and proposes many such interactions in the coming weeks covering the US and Europe, said he has a general sense that money will not be a problem.

"I've had some meetings with investors. We got a very good response. There is lot of excitement about India's infrastructure. Everybody is looking at us, especially roads where the market is already is there," the minister said.

During his interactions with investors, Kamal Nath has been pointing out that the potential for road sector was very large in India, given a 7 per cent growth in traffic and 12 percent growth in automobile sales every year.