PM favours transparent policy on highways

PM favours transparent policy on highways

Govt to invest $ 1 trillion on infrastructure

Addressing a conference of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in National Highways here, the prime minister said in the backdrop of fiscal constraints faced by infrastructure projects, the finance ministry had initiated a process to set up an infrastructure debt fund to enhance the flow of funds.

Government sources said the details of the debt funds were being formulated by the finance ministry.

While batting for active private sector participation in the infrastructure sector, Singh called for maintaining complete transparency in awarding highway projects to eliminate the possibility of favouritism or crony capitalism.

He called for more investment in the infrastructure segment,  for achieving the 9 per cent economic growth target during the 12th Plan, up from 8.2 per cent in the current Plan.
The government had been successful in attracting large private investments.

Road contracts exceeded about 4,800 km in 2010-11. Contracts  for 7,300 km would be given during this fiscal with a view to constructing 20 km of roads a day.

Pointing out that of the total national highways, “20,000 km are single lane,” Singh said a time-bound programme for widening these roads to two-lane standards would be taken up through turn-key contracts.

Singh said the National Highway’s Authority of India (NHAI), dealing mostly with the roads that could attract private capital, had made PPP the preferred mode for most of its projects.

“There are, however, areas where private investment can be invited, based on affordable user charges with some capital subsidy as necessary,” he said. “I have often said the PPP is private profit in service of public at large.”

 Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi said the NHAI would award contracts for laying 7,300 km of highways, envisaging a private investment of about Rs 50,000 crore by the end of the current fiscal

He added that out of India’s national highways’ network of 71,000 km, upgradation of about 16,000 km had been completed. About 15,000 km of roads were in different stages of implementation .

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