NEW DELHI: The Minister for Road Transport and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari has said that the Highways and Shipping sectors in India today are financially very sound and offer tremendous investment opportunities under their respective flagship programs - Bharatmala and Sagarmala, as also other ongoing programs.
He said, while Rs 5,35,000 crores are to be spent over Phase-I of Bharat Mala over the next 5 years, the investment for Sagarmala is expected to be around 4 lakh Crore. Mr Gadkari was delivering the keynote address at the Curtain Raiser event of the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in New Delhi on February 27.
Emphasizing that this was the “Golden Time” to invest in the Road and Shipping sectors in India, the Minister said that availability of funds is not problem for these sectors. The budgetary support , of Rs 1,25,000 Crores expected from monetization of highways projects, the high market rating of organizations like NHAI and Cochin Shipyard, and the growing profit from the Major Ports which rose from Rs 3000 crore three years back to Rs 5000 crore last year are enough for the kind of investments planned.
Mr Gadkari said that the Ministry has worked its way through various impediments and stalled projects to bring in innovative financing models like the Hybrid Annuity Model and the Toll – Operate - Transfer mode. Land acquisition problems have been resolved through better compensation and streamlining of procedures; the process of getting environment and other clearances has become smoother with increased inter-Ministerial coordination. All this has resulted in a heightened pace of activity in these sectors. He called upon private investors to bid for the upcoming Access Controlled Expressway projects, the 14 Coastal Economic Zones, the 5 Smart Cities and many other such upcoming projects.
The Minister also informed that work has already begun to develop 10 out of the 111 waterways designated as National Waterways. He informed that the World Bank funded Jal Marg Vikas project on River Ganga is at an advanced stage of Execution. Development of waterways will provide a more cost effective and environment friendly mode of transport, especially for cargo, he pointed.