New Delhi: The government, on Monday, said it envisages Rs 50,000 crore private investment in the highways sector this fiscal as it awards contracts for building 7,300 km of roads.
“During the current year, bids for about 4,600 km have already been received or invited and before the year ends, we will award concessions for 7,300 km. This will harness private investment of over Rs 50,000 crore,” road transport and highways minister C.P. Joshi said.
Addressing a conference on “Public Private Partnership (PPP) in National Highways: Challenges & Opportunities” Joshi said his ministry’s efforts of introducing transparency has resulted in “robust bids” in the roads sector.
“In the first four months of the current year, we have awarded PPP projects with an investment of over Rs 21,000 crore. The bids received are far better than estimated bids for these projects. This will give us additional revenues of more than Rs 10,000 crore,” he said.
He said that out of India’s national highways’ network of 71,000 km, upgradation projects for about 16,000 km have been completed, while about 15,000 km are in different stages of implementation of being awarded. This leaves about 40,000 km, which continue to suffer from neglect. In particular, 20,000 km comprise single lane roads which are mostly in less developed regions, Joshi said.
The minister said these single lane highways would be developed into two-lanes through turnkey EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contracts to ensure timely construction without cost overruns.
He added that concessions for six laning of about half of Golden Quadrilateral, which connects the metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai have been awarded.
“The balance would be awarded within the next one year,” Joshi said, adding that steps have also been initiated to build expressways in high density corridors and the ministry is in dialogue with potential investors and concerned states to find innovative ways of financing these projects.
On state highways, he urged the planning commission to work closely with states to convert these as world-class roads.
“So far 77 projects for a length of 7,801 km have been taken up,” Joshi said. He exuded confidence that the ambitious target of building 20 km of roads a day will be achieved soon. The UPA-11 government has set up a target of building 35,000 km of highways by 2014.