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Government formulating a model to allow small investors to invest in road projects: Nitin Gadkari

Aug 23, 2022

National Highway network to touch two lakh kilometres by end 2024

New Delhi. 23 August 2022: Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari said the government is formulating a new model to allow small investors to invest in infrastructure projects at the '3rd edition of Roads and Highways Summit', organised by FICCI.

He said, "(the government) will soon list InvITs on the stock market so that retail investors can trade units (of InvITs), offering an opportunity to common citizens to invest in the infrastructure projects". The Minister said the InvITs assure a 7 to 8 per cent return.

The Minister noted the need to expand the national highway network as they carry about 70 per cent of the cargo and 90 per cent of the passenger traffic in the country. He highlighted that NH at 1.47 lakh kilometres are just about 2.3 per cent of the overall road network and said, "before end 2024, we will take national highway network to two lakh kilometres."

On occasion, Minister Gadkari also noted logistics costs as the critical challenge to country trade, exports and business. He averred that the current logistic costs in the country range from 14 to 16 per cent as opposed to 12 per cent in European nations and the USA and around 8 - 10 per cent in China. "My target is to take it up to 10 per cent", the Minister said and encouraged the industry to plan on adopting water transport. "Our first priority is for waterways, second for railway, third road and fourth aviation", he added, highlighting waterways as costing one-tenth of the road transport.

The Minister also alluded to alternative fuels like LNG, bio-ethanol and green hydrogen and said," ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, bio-LNG, bio-CNG, electric and green hydrogen, the alternative fuels will substitute imports, (are) cost-effective, pollution-free and can save your (industry's) logistic cost."

Speaking on occasion, Mr BVN Rao, Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee and Business Chairman (Transport & Urban Infra), GMR Group, said that "this year, when the country is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it is the infrastructure that will be recognised as a hallmark in the nation's list of achievements." 

Mr Shailesh Pathak, Co-Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee, also spoke at the event and noted the progress made in road construction over the years. He, however, pointed to the need to ensure progress in the movement of trucks. "When the road gets built, how do we move the truck faster compared to a car, is more about enforcement in the states," he said, adding, "we can think of ranking of states using big data analytics and FASTag."

In addition, Pathak submitted that DPRs should be made, considering not only the motorists but also pedestrians and cyclists.

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