The Road Transports and Highways Ministry is planning to take over state highways with high traffic density from the state governments for a period of 25 years.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said that those state highways with high traffic density will be converted into four or sine-lane highways and then the Centre will collect toll from those highways.
Gadkari was addressing the Association Of National Exchanges Members of India (ANMI)'s 12th International Convention which was held in Mumbai Saturday virtually, a release stated.
After 12-13 years, the investments will be fully recovered from those state highways along with interests and land acquisition costs, he added.
Saying investments in the infrastructure sector of the country will be risk-free and yield good returns, the Union minister 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,” he said.
The Centre has given the highest priority to development of infrastructure in the country, he added.
Speaking about infrastructure development, he said, “We are planning a green express highway between Mumbai and Bangalore”. It will be a five hours journey between Mumbai-Bangalore and 3.5 to four hours 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 mentioned.
Likewise, 27 green express highways are coming up in the country. By 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, stated the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister.
Highway projects connecting Gorakhpur to Siliguri and Varanasi to Kolkata are also on the cards, he said, adding, “Just like the National Water Grid, we want to develop a National Highway Grid”.
He also stated that income from tolls have come to Rs 40 thousand crore at present and it will rise to Rs 1 lakh 40 thousand crores by the end of 2024..
The Ministry is also in the process of constructing 75 tunnels at a cost of Rs 2,50,000 crore, the minister stated.
On an average, 40 km of roads are constructed per day in the country, informed Gadkari. He further stated that presently there exists 65 lakh km of road length in the country and out of it, 1.45 lakh km are of National Highways.
In the future, before making highways, the plan is to acquire land in cooperation and JVs with private sector investors, the minister said.
Gadkari further said that 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 Road Transport and Highways Ministry is also looking at diversifying fuel base to include ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-LNG, BIO-CNG, electric 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 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, adding, "Bio-fuels are import-substitute, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous".
Stating that the country’s automobile industry's size is Rs 7.5 lakh crore, Gadkari said that there is a plan to make it a Rs 15 lakh crore industry within five years. Automobiles industry has maximum employment potential and brings in maximum GST to the Centre and states, he added.
The minister also said that investments in areas of solid waste management and liquid waste management would yield good returns.
The dignitaries present on the occasion included Whole Time Director of SEBI Ashwini Bhatia.
During the convention, Kamlesh Shah, President of ANMI announced a major Cybersecurity initiative. “Association of National Exchanges Members of India (ANMI) has been assigned the important task of onboarding members for the SEBI committee on cybersecurity which has been formed in alliance with stock exchanges. The committee is mandated to create an appropriate framework for cyber security for all financial intermediaries.”