Govt plans to invest 15L crore for highways in 5 years

Govt plans to invest 15L crore for highways in 5 years

Representative image. (DH Photo)

The Centre is planning to invest Rs 15 lakh cores for highways sectors in the next five-year as part of the government plan to boost infrastructure in the country.

This including Bharatmala Projects, building expressways, widening of existing highways by converting two lanes to four or four lanes to eight lanes, said an official from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The government hoping to raise a large part of money for these projects from toll revenue. With the toll collection per day increasing by 25 to 30 % after the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) mandating the compulsory usage of Fastag, the government expecting revenue from toll collection cross from current Rs 9,000 crore per annum to Rs 40,000 crore in the next five years, said the official.

Of the total 1.4 lakh km of highways under the NHAI, 24,996 km of highways currently are under the toll ambit and the length will swell to 27,000 km by the end of this fiscal.

With the NHAI plans to construct more highways, the government expects to jump in toll revenue. Once the toll revenue increases, the road projects also get loans from banks and raise money from markets, said the official.

2019-20 was muted year for the road ministry in awarding highway projects as till December 2019, it able to award only 2,222 km of highways and another 550 km expected by end of current fiscal.

Though the delay in land acquisition and issue of funding were a major hurdle for the project award, the Ministry hopes to award more projects in the coming fiscal.

The nod to the NHAI to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) and monetise national highway projects will prove another milestone in highways development.

InvITs are instruments on the pattern of mutual funds and are designed to pool small sums of money from a number of investors to invest in assets that give cash flow over a period of time.

The Cabinet in last month authorised NHAI to set up InvIT, which will enable it to monetise completed national highways that have a toll collection track record of at least one year and NHAI reserves the right to levy a toll on the identified highway.

It will also facilitate the corpus of special institutions to be invested in the infrastructure sector.

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