Nitin Gadkari returns as Highways Minister for 3rd term to push ahead with big infra projects

New Delhi, June 10 The return of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari, as the Minister for Road Transport and Highways marks his third term in the job which has seen an unprecedented pace in the development of Highways and Expressways across the length and breadth of the country.

The 67-year-old BJP leader has played a key role in implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic policy of accelerating GDP growth through massive investments in big infrastructure projects that has taken India from the fragile five to the top 5 economies in the world.

Nitin Gadkari's reappointment to the ministry based on his proven track record, reflects a continuity in the policy of the Modi 3.0 government as India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy.

According to official figures, the national highway network in the country increased by 60 per cent from 91,287 km in 2014 to 1,46,145 km in 2023.

In the last 10 years, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and his teams built a staggering 54,860 km of national highways.

India is expected to maintain its rapid pace of road construction with the addition of up to 13,000 km in the financial year 2024-25, an increase of 5 to 8 per cent over the previous year, according to a report released by rating agency ICRA recently.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has received a fresh funds boost, with the Interim Budget enhancing its allocation to Rs 2.78 lakh crore for 2024-25 which is close to 3 per cent higher than the impressive Rs 2.7 lakh crore outlay in the previous year.

Nitin Gadkari had earlier unveiled his plans to try and attract more private investment in highway projects to increase the pace of development and generate more jobs in the economy.

Of the 176 projects tendered out in Financial Year 2023-24, only one was a BOT project.

As many as 53 BOT (Toll) Projects for a length of 5,200 km worth Rs 2.1 lakh crore have been identified and bids for 7 projects with a length of 387 km worth Rs 27,000 crore have been invited in the coming months.

Under the BOT (Toll) mode, contractors are awarded projects based on their estimation of the revenue from the highway projects as they bear the cost of construction and recover their investment through toll rights over a specified concession period.

According to the Government's 'Vision 2047' Plan, a large number of high-speed corridors are envisaged to be developed and Nitin Gadkari's long experience in the sector is expected to help the country realise this dream.

Source: IANS
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