Delhi, Mumbai Expressway to be ready by 2022, says Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway would be ready by 2022, said Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday.

According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), a section of the expressway will be operational in the second half of 2022. The completed project will cut by half the 24-hour travel time between the two cities.

The government is spending Rs 7 trillion on building green express highways that would provide smart transportation and reduce pollution, said Gadkari at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event. NHAI is planning to raise Rs 1 trillion through monetisation of national highways in five years and industries must come forward to reap rich dividends by investing in the work.

"NHAI is planning to raise Rs 1 lakh crore through monetisation of highways under toll operate transfer (TOT) mode in the next five years," Gadkari said.

He said that asset monetisation offers a good business opportunity for industry players in existing infrastructure and on the other hand it will help the government in unlocking the value of investment made in creating infrastructure.

NHAI is authorised to monetise public-funded national highway projects, which are operational and are collecting toll for at least one year after commercial operation, through the TOT model on a case-to-case basis.

Besides, he said the government is in the process of setting up a new development finance institution DFI.

The institution is being set up on a capital base of Rs 20,000 crore and will have a lending target of Rs 5 lakh crore in three years, he said and added that the government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring availability of adequate funding and infra creation during Covid-induced slowdown.

Under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) there are more than 7,300 projects to be implemented at a cost of Rs 111 trillion by 2025.

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