Nitin Gadkari says banks keen to pump Rs 1.3 lakh crore in building highways

04 Jul 2018

NEW DELHI: Banks are willing to invest Rs 1.3 lakh crore in building national highways, now that stalled projects have been resolved, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Gadkari met top bankers last week to get them to lend more to the road sector. Bank funding to the sector dried up after a large number of highway projects got stuck before 2014. Most projects undertaken during the past four years have been under the government-funded engineering, procurement and construction model. Banks said they would be open to lending to public-private partnership projects.

The minister said the government had resolved stuck projects worth about Rs 4 lakh crore in the past four years and it was completely safe for banks to lend for highway projects.

Gadkari, who is also minister for water resources, spoke at a public event organised by WAPCOS, a PSU that provides solutions for water, power and infrastructureNSE 1.25 % projects, on Tuesday. Gadkari said he’s working on a proposal to desalinate sea water to make it fit for drinking and agriculture purposes.
The technology is already available. It will be help us make water available in areas that face water shortage,” Gadkari said. The minister said there was a need to expedite decision-making in the government for faster implementation of projects.