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Highway infra boost worth Rs15 lakh crore in two years: Gadkari

By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON MAY 31, 2020 06:43 PM IST

PUNE The centre is planning to construct highways estimated to be worth Rs 15 lakh crore in next two years in a bid to boost the highway infrastructure projects in the country, said Nitin Gadkari, union minister for road transport and highways, during a webinar organised by Mahratta Chambers of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), Pune on Sunday.

The minister was replying to an input specified by Pradeep Bhargava, president, MCCIA, who in representation requested the minister to infuse funds to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore in highways construction sector as part of infrastructure upgradation programme.

“My target is to carry out highway construction work estimated to worth 15 lakh crore. We want to increase highways revenue income which will be increased up to Rs one lakh crore as toll income from the highways,” said Gadkari during the webinar.

“Yesterday (on Saturday), we got a loan from a foreign bank to be infused in infrastructure projects. We are in talks with big banks and have 400 infrastructure development projects for which RBI has given its in-principle approval for providing finance for the same. Our focus is enhancing the purchasing power, increasing market liquidity which is necessary to accelerate the economy,” he said.

Stress on increasing the liquidity

Gadkari said, “The current situation is a blessing in disguise as nobody wants to trade with China. Japan has already declared its intentions regarding seeking foreign investments. How we bring foreign capital and investment in India needs to be thought out.”

“Similarly, upgradation of technology is also important. We need to convert problems into opportunities. During the lockdown, we need to understand the art of living during Covid crisis till we get vaccines. We need to understand our limitations and move forward in these trying times,” Gadkari said.

An additional loan of Rs3 lakh crore for MSME sector

The minister pointed out that the additional loan of Rs 3 lakh crore released by the banks without collateral would help the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME ). During the webinar, Prashant Girbane, director-general, MCCI, raised issues related to cash flows, delayed payments and migrant labourers as the cause of concern before the chambers. To this, Gadkari said the government has recently announced a slew of measures including making available liquidity.

“Six lakh MSMEs will be covered and two lakh MSMEs will benefit from the same. Whatever outstanding which needs to be paid is from government undertakings, state undertakings and major industries. We have issued instructions for immediate release the funds and states too have been instructed. We have requested that small industrialists must be given money first.”

“It is incorrect that industries are completely dependent on migrant labourers when in actuality it is only 20 per cent. Then, start the industries from thirty per cent and the numbers will increase. Give a letter to the collector and try to bring back the migrant workers by winning their confidence,” he said.

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