Reforms to NHAI will be carried out soon, says Gadkari1 min read . Updated: 16 Jun 2020, 10:36 PM IST
While the minister, did not spell out the details, he had said after a review of highway projects in January, that delays in decision making will not be tolerated and promised to carry out a performance audit of government officials in the roads ministry and NHAI
Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said reforms at National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were pending for long and must be carried out at the earliest.
“We are working on reform measures for NHAI, although it is a fine organization that has done good work," Gadkari said at a webinar on the covid-19 pandemic and the investment opportunities in the roads and highways sector, organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
While the minister for road transport and highways, and shipping , did not spell out the details, he had said after a review of highway projects in January, that delays in decision making will not be tolerated and promised to carry out a performance audit of government officials in the roads ministry and NHAI.
The minister said the Centre will continue to bear risks in highway projects for some more time as it plans to award projects via the conventional engineering procurement and construction, or EPC, model, instead of depending on the private sector, as they are having difficulty in raising funds from banks.
“We tried encouraging PPP (public private partnerships in road-building). Those who opted for BOT (build-operate-transfer) model, faced difficulties as banks were not friendly and reluctant to lend."
“In this situation, we should build roads on EPC model and monetize road assets with banks…bankers are not reluctant to lend to NHAI," he said.
PPP models, such as BOT, picked up initially, but also posed challenges for road developers, including constraints in raising funds from banks, delays in sanction for land acquisition, and higher risks for the private sector. However, EPC minimizes risks for private entities.
“The most important thing right now is to bring liquidity, which can come from (building) infrastructure. And for that we need to award projects," the minister said.