After launching highway projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore that were stuck on account of various regulatory hurdles, the government is all set to roll out Rs 2 lakh crore worth of infrastructure projects this year, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadari said today.
“We have cleared bottlenecks. It is easy to construct express highways but difficult to get environment clearance.
However, we are removing hurdles. We have cleared projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Now this year we will launch projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore,” Gadkari said addressing the annual convention of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers here.
Gadkari said his Ministry was also looking to build two lakh Km of roads under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode which includes widening of existing one lakh km of highways.
“We are fast-tracking the decision making and weeding out corruption and red-tapism from government functioning besides introducing innovation,” he said.
There is no dearth of money to fund the projects and the Ministry if need be can garner more funds through securitisation of toll revenue which amounted to about Rs 1.8 lakh crore in 15 years besides raising funds through infrastructure bonds worth Rs 10,000 crore.
A number of steps, he said, has been initiated to bring in wide reforms in the highways sector including launch of 350 electronic toll plazas by December and building amenities for drivers and commuters on every 50 km stretch for which bids have already been floated for consultancy and design of 270 such facilities.
He said the draft for the new Motor Vehicles legislation expected to be passed in the upcoming Winter Session will be launched on Website by tomorrow seeking suggestions from stakeholders.
“The present Motor Vehicles Act has turned obsolete and the new draft has been prepared incorporating the best practises in six advanced nations – US, Japan, Germany, UK, Singapore and Australia,” he said.
He also appealed to SIAM on the need for introducing ethanol-friendly engines to cut on the huge Rs 6 lakh crore annual bills on import of crude in the country to which SIAM leaders expressed concern and said “there was not enough ethanol available at present.”
Gadkari said government was also focusing on boosting waterways for transportation of cargo and planned introducing sea-planes, airport-like terminals on Ganga besides shipment of cargo through waterway which was much cost-friendly.
Also, a new policy for shipbuilding was on the anvil besides promotion of cruise shipping including that of the Kochi to Andaman & Nicobar islands.