The Government of India has finally decided to act upon its plans of developing the road substructure in India by executing the National Infrastructure Pipeline. This decision came after the Secretary of Road Transport and Highways, Giridhar Armane addressed a gathering of leading and large investor groups in New Delhi on the evening of 10th September 2020.
The need to develop roads and highways across the nation has been the talking point of the Government for years now. With the new plans to build 50,000 kilometres of highways all over the country, they intend to join all the major cities as well as remote hinterlands in an interconnected web scape. This is a truly transformational responsibility taken up by the government; it will not only lead to overall growth of the connecting areas but will also give a huge lift to the economy by decreasing logistic costs and increasing vehicle ownership. An ambitious effort, most the highways constructed under which will be 4 and 6 lanes wide.
The creation of an Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) has already been ratified by the Union Cabinet. With this trust, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will be competent to gain capital returns from the completed national highways that have a toll collection record of one year or more. The Ministry has also been making efforts to attract likely investors to invest and work together on their plans. At one such meeting of investors, Giridhar persuaded investor groups to participate in the project by assuring them of its striking monetary potential, that the ministry will make all necessary efforts to facilitate realisation of value for investment, as well as the extenuation of any possible risks. He also asked the investors to consider that InvIT has scope for broad basing the investor groups and that it promises to be an attractive vehicle for mobilising funds for road development. While addressing the meeting, he said, “The proposed roads have a long history of tolling, and thus the price discovery is likely to be handsome.”
In addition to his urging and assurances, Armane also said, “The functioning of the Investment Manager will be democratised by bringing investing partners into Board of Directors to manage the Company in a professional manner”, he also said, “the Project Managers will also be selected on professional and efficiency basis.” After receiving approval from the Union Cabinet, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways the National Highway Authority of India have definitely set their plans in motion. The concerned authorities have also made all the necessary preparations to ensure that the ambitious project comes to fruition, not only for the investors but also for every single citizen and whose life will be affected by the construction of these 4 and 6 lane highways.
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