Centre plans to takeover state highways for development

The central government is planning to take over some of the state highways with high traffic density from the states, develop these to 4 or 6 lane highways and then recover investments through toll collection within 12-13 years, union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

“The financial markets need to come up with innovative models to fund India’s Infrastructure growth. We are inviting investments in the PPP model.”
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister virtually addresses at the 12th International Convention of Association Of the National Exchanges Members Of India
Gadkari said the take-over will be for a period of 25 years, Gadkari said, adding that within a period of 12-13 years, the investments will be fully recovered from those state highways along with interests and land acquisition costs.
The minister stated in a virtual address at the Association Of National Exchanges Members of India (ANMI)'s 12th International Convention which was held in Mumbai on Saturday.
He stated that investments in the infrastructure sector of the country will be risk-free and yield good returns and called for cooperation in the investment for infrastructure. “The financial markets need to come up with innovative models to fund India’s Infrastructure growth. We are inviting investments in the PPP model. We can export energy to the world if we channel our investments to waste management, green hydrogen, solar, and several such projects. Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Science, and Technology is the wealth of future India.” 
The centre has given the highest priority to development of infrastructure in the country, he added.
“We are planning a green express highway between Mumbai and Bangalore,” Gadkari informed whike speaking about infrastructure development. It will be a 5-hour journey between Mumbai and Bangalore and 3-1/2 to 4 hrs between Pune and Bangalore, he added. The Mumbai-Pune Express Highway will take a turn from near the Ring Road of Pune and start as the Highway towards Bangalore, he further mentioned.
Likewise, 27 green express highways are coming up in the country. By the end of this year, there will be highways connecting Delhi-Dehradun in 2 hrs, Delhi-Hardwar in 2 hrs, Delhi-Jaipur in 2 hrs, Delhi-Chandigarh in 2.5 hrs, Delhi - Amritsar in 4 hrs, Delhi-Srinagar in 8 hrs, Delhi-Katra in 6 hrs, Delhi- Mumbai in 10 hrs, Chennai-Bangalore in 2 hrs and Lucknow-Kanpur in half an hour, Gadkari stated. 
Highway projects connecting Gorakhpur to Siliguri and Varanasi to Kolkata are also on the cards. “Just like the National Water Grid, we want to develop a National Highway Grid”, he said. He also stated that income from tolls now stand around Rs40,000 crore and it is expected to rise to Rs1,40,000 crore by the end of 2024..
The ministry is also in the process of constructing 75 tunnels at a cost of Rs2,50,000 crore, the minister stated. On an average, 40 km of roads are constructed per day in the country, informed Gadkari. He further stated that at present there exists  65,00,000 km of road in the country, of which 1.45 lakh km are national highways. In the future, before making highways, the plan is to acquire land in cooperation and JVs with private sector investors, he stated.
Gadkari further said there is a huge potential for development of public transport in the country. There is good economic viability in introducing e-buses, he said. Some of the projects taken up by his ministry include starting electric vehicles, trolleybuses and bus-ports in cities. Also, AC Luxury buses may be started for tourists, he added.  Under the Parvatmala scheme, ropeways, cable-cars and funicular rail are being developed in hilly areas. The restaurants and parking plazas that will come up surrounding these projects will also add to the sources of revenue, said the minister.
The ministry of road transport and highways is also looking at diversifying fuel base to include ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-LNG, bio-CNG, electricity and green hydrogen. Under the National Hydrogen Mission, the centre wants to make India a green hydrogen hub and export this form of energy to the world, stated the minister. He further said that there is economic viability in making ethanol from sugar-cane, bamboo and other agricultural products. “By making bio-fuels, we may increase India's GDP in agriculture”, he said. Bio-fuels are import-substitutes, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous, he added.
Stating that the country’s automobile industry's size is Rs7,50,000 crore, Gadkari said that there is a plan to make it a Rs15,00,000 crore industry within 5 years. Automobile industry has maximum employment potential and brings in maximum GST to the centre and states, he added. The minster also said that investments in areas of solid waste management and liquid waste management are going to yield good returns.
Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “I am sure that lots of brilliant ideas will be generated for the development and growth of financial markets in India. I am delighted that the theme of our conference is based on Amrit Kaal which is also the vision of our honorable prime minister Shri Narendra Modi.”