India inks pact with UK for highways development, road safety

India inks pact with UK for highways development, road safety

New Delhi: India has inked a pact with the UK for greater cooperation in highways development, consultancy and road safety, the government on Thursday said.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath and his British counterpart Philip Hammond, secretary of state, Department of Transport of the United Kingdom.

“As part of the MoU , both the countries would engage in consultations and will exchange information and best practices in the areas of motor vehicle testing, driver training and delivering and maintaining of highway networks," an official statement said.

The MoU will enable greater government to government cooperation helping India gain from the best practices and experiences of UK in the field, Nath said.

Nath, who addressed a round table session on highway infrastructure organized jointly by CII and Confederation of British Industries on Tuesday, urged the financial institutions to diversify their investments into equities of road construction companies in India.

By the end of March 2011, 22,000 km of work will be in progress in India, he told investors.

Financial closures of the awarded projects have either been achieved or is in the advanced stages of achievement, he said. Nath also held a meeting with members of British India Roads Group (BIRG).

The group expressed keen interest in participating in India’s National Highway Development Programme and suggested ways for bringing about changes in the areas of financing, procurement, concession, engineering design, construction and operation & maintenance, the statement said.

India will also sign a pact with China and a draft for cooperation in technology, project management, design and engineering etc is ready, the government had said earlier.

Chinese investment is likely to treble after the MoU. At present Chinese companies are constructing six road projects at a cost of about Rs2478.32 crore.

India has set a target of constructing 35,000 km of highways by 2014.