Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday chided the bankers for delaying funding of road projects at a time when most issues in the roads sector have been resolved.
Gadkari said bankers did not exercise the same caution earlier when the sector was facing difficulties. “I have some reservations with the bankers. When everything is clear, we are taking 8-10 months for financial closure. But when there was a bad situation, they financed,” Gadkari said. “We have a watch list of banks,” he added.
“We have resolved enovironment and land acquisition issues. We are not giving approval to projects if 90 per cent of the land is not acquired,” he said. Giving details of how his ministry had worked on reducing the number of pending projects, Gadkari said he had saved the banks billions of rupees of bad loans by faster clearances.
When he took the office in May 2014, there were 403 stuck projects with an underlying investment of Rs 3.86 trillion, which had now come down to just eight projects, Gadkari said. “I would request all of you to invest in the road sector. We’ve a lot of potential, we’ve increased the road length, economic viability is good, internal rate of return is good,” he said.
The minister said there are no major issues regarding land acquisition now. “There is no problem, even with utilities there’s no problem in acquiring land,” he said.
After the NDA government came to power at the centre, the length of the national highways has been increased to 1.62 lakh km from 96,000 km in two years, he claimed. Nick Bonino Jersey