Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > Centre to get monthly toll revenues of Rs 1,500 crore from Delhi-Mumbai Expressway: Nitin Gadkari

Centre to get monthly toll revenues of Rs 1,500 crore from Delhi-Mumbai Expressway: Nitin Gadkari

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Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the Union government will get an estimated Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore a month in toll revenues once the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway becomes operational in 2023. The minister hailed the project as a “gold mine” for generating revenues.

With India rapidly expanding its road infrastructure for the past seven years, the minister said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will rake in annual toll income to the tune of Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the next five years from the current level of Rs 40,000 crore.

The national highways infrastructure is a world-class success story, Gadkari, who just completed a whirlwind tour to assess the progress of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway that will pass through four states apart from the national capital, said. “Once the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is completed and opened for the public, we will get at least Rs 1,000-1,500 crore as toll revenues every month,” he said.

Project to be completed in 2023

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is likely to be completed by March 2023 and is being built as part of the first phase of the “Bharatmala Pariyojana”. The eight-lane expressway, covering Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, is expected to halve the commute time between the national capital and the country’s financial hub from nearly 24 hours to 12 hours.

Against the backdrop of concerns being flagged about NHAI being saddled with high level of debt, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister pointed out that the nodal agency has received “AAA” rating and all its road projects are productive. “AAA” is one of the highest credit ratings and indicates robust financial position.

NHAI is a gold mine, says Nitin Gadkari

“NHAI was not in a debt trap, and it will never be in a debt trap in the future. It is a gold mine, and is on strong footing… in the next five years, NHAI’s toll income will rise to Rs 1.4 lakh crore per year from current toll income of Rs 40,000 crore,” Gadkari pointed out.

In March, the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture had expressed its displeasure over a whopping Rs 97,115 crore debt servicing liability on NHAI. Recently, the minister informed Rajya Sabha that total borrowings of NHAI increased to Rs 3,06,704 crore at the end of March this year from Rs 74,742 crore in March 2017.

While noting that investments in the infrastructure sector will create employment and accelerate the country’s economic growth, Gadkari said, “We (NHAI and the ministry) are working on projects worth lakhs of crores.”

When the economy is on a decline, “then economics tells us that there is a need to increase investments in infrastructure”, he added. The country’s economy has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is slowly on the recovery path. Global agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have forecast a robust growth for India in the current fiscal year.

 

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