World Bank sanctions $3 billion for national highways

The World Bank has agreed to provide a $3-billion loan for developing India's national highways,  road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath said in New York yesterday.

''They (World Bank) have, for the first time, informed me that they will be willing to fund the viability gap and also 50 per cent of our annuity projects,'' Nath told the media at the end his much hyped week-long tour to the US.

Nath's 'roadshow' to attract foreign investment to India enters the US last week, after its two-day programme in London, and a similar roadshow in Zurich, called 'Building India: Road Infrastructure Summit' (See: Kamal Nath roadshow to hit UK on 1 September).

In London too he met business leaders, bankers and investors, explaining to them there is money to be made investing in India's roads in the current financial climate.

The World Bank assistance will be utilised for converting 6,372 km of one-lane highways into two-lane, of the total of 19,702-km single-lane highways.

"Infrastructure is our biggest challenge," Nath told US investors, adding that India needs to cutdown bureaucratic hurdles.