Stalled highways projects to be launched by Aug 15: Gadkari

He blamed the previous regime for awarding projects without acquiring even 10% of the required land

Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari

Stalled highways projects worth Rs 1,80,000 crore will be rolled out in a month's span after ironing out hurdles like delays in land acquisition and green nods, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today.

Blaming the previous regime for award of projects "without acquiring even 10% of the required land" and causing hardships for road sector, Gadkari also announced that steps were on to launch new projects worth 2 lakh crore soon.

"As many as 189 projects with a cost of Rs 1,80,000 crore are stuck due to problems in land acquisition, delays in forest and environment clearances, non-transfer of defence land and hurdles in rail overbridges... Hurdles will be removed by August 15 and work will start on these," Gadkari said addressing a summit on Highways by PHD Chamber here.

In a significant shift of policy, he also said that public private partnership (PPP) model was not feasible at present for award of road projects due to a host of issues "created by the previous government" and that schemes will be bid out on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.

"Projects were bid out by previous government without even 10% of the required land acquisition. Work could not start on the project where financial closure took place two years back. Banks withdrew financial closure...PPP mode is not possible now. We will work on EPC model for a few years," he said.

Unlike PPP model where the private sector has to fund the road building, in the EPC model, the Government funds a highway, with private firms designing and building the road.

Gadkari said, "DPR (detailed project report) will be ready soon for projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore after which steps would be taken for forest and environment clearance and land acquisiton...After two years roads and port sector will help India's GDP to grow at least by 2%.