Highways pause for breath, with red tape | india | Hindustan Times
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Highways pause for breath, with red tape

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his interim budget speech that the Govt has decided that IIFCL will refinance 60 pc of commercial bank loans for projects in critical sectors, writes Samiran Saha.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2009 23:27 IST
Samiran Saha

For brothers Amrik and Sukhdev, life has changed completely after the construction of the Golden Quadrilateral. Their roadside dhaba on National highway I on the GT Karnal road has now changed to a sprawling restaurant spread over 10 acres.

More such roads and money to build them, are on their way, after years of growth spawned by the wide roads criss-crossing the country. But there is a view that highway growth slowed in the past five years.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his interim budget speech that the government has decided that India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd. (IIFCL) will refinance 60 per cent of commercial bank loans for projects in critical sectors over the next eighteen months or so.

“IIFCL has been authorised to raise Rs.10,000 crore in the market by the end of March 2009. An additional Rs.30,000 crore can be raised if required. With this, IIFCL and banks will be able to support projects involving a total investment of Rs. 1 lakh crore in infrastructure.”

The National Highway Development Programme (NHDP), the country’s biggest infrastructure development programme posted a 56 per cent completion rate across all phases of NHDP in 2007-08, down from 81 per cent in 2004-05.

According to Ankinedu Maganti, Director of construction firm Soma Enterprises, if advance government approvals involving permits, land acquisition and forest clearances are in place, the pace of development will be much faster The port sector has thrown up a better story.The 13 major ports in India handled 519.2 million tonnes(mt) of cargo in 2006-07 as against 383.7 mt in 2007-08.