Banks not ready to fund projects under public-private partnership: Gadkari

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on July 23, 2014

Roadmap for investments (from right) Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari; Senior Vice-President FICCI Jyotsna Suri and Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram releasing the Knowledge Paper during a FICCI summit in New Delhi. V SUDERSHAN

Minister says bids for road projects will be invited only after 80% of land is acquired

Even as Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that it is difficult to undertake projects on public-private partnership (PPP) basis in the current conditions, Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram said the Government will have to depend on such partnerships for undertaking projects.

“PPP is more relevant today than it ever was,” Mayaram said at a FICCI event, pointing out that Government programmes such as implementing 100 smart cities and clean drinking water will have to be implemented on a PPP basis.

But Gadkari said none of the banks were ready to fund PPP projects in the current context.

Another Government official said while the Government will have to depend on PPPs for the road sector in the medium and long run, in the short run, projects will have to be implemented on an EPC basis.

Pushing for timely decisions, the Minister said delayed decisions lead to a loss of ₹15 crore a day. He said he never directs Government officials to take decisions in a certain way, “but I tell them to take a decision on time, either way.”

Reacting to an earlier comment in the event that projects that are implemented are those that are taken up on political considerations, Gadkari said there was bound to be pressure from politicians elected by the people. “Are we social workers? If we do not function as per the wishes of those who elect us, how will we be elected again,” he said.

On road projects, Gadkari said bids will not be invited before 80 per cent of the required land is in place. He said consultants who have given incorrect detailed project reports may not be given contracts in future.

Cement cost

On the issue of lower-cost cement not being available, Gadkari said there could be a new tendering process, where financial bids are invited from all players, and the bids of qualified players are subsequently opened. “This would prevent cartelisation,” said Gadkari, who has been seeking to mandate the use of cement in all road projects.

Even as Gadkari invited suggestions from all stakeholders, Athar Shahab, CEO-Infrastructure and Real Estate, Vedanta Group, said a beginning could be made by removing exemptions given to Ministers from paying at toll plazas. Perhaps, the Minister could set an example by paying toll, said Shahab, in another session at the event.

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Published on July 23, 2014
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