Road infrastructure work in India is expected to see accelerated growth with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) aiming to expand the National Highways network to 2 lakh kilometre by the year 2024 from present 1.4 lakh kilometre.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, MoRTH said, “With implementation of Bharatmala project and green highways in the coming years is all set to reduce the logistics costs by 3% of the GDP. India has got huge potential in infrastructure and there is huge potential for road construction, river connectivity, solid and liquid waste management, parking plaza, irrigation, bus-ports, ropeways and cable car projects.”. He was speaking at the inauguration of ‘Accelerating the road Infrastructure: new India @75 organised by FICCI.
He said that the government was making 26 Green Express Highways and Logistics parks of Rs 2 lakh crore. At the same time, MoRTH was exploring innovative ideas by which the country can develop infrastructure further.
“The future of the Indian infrastructure sector is very bright. We need to accept good technology, research, innovation and successful practices from across the world and from within India. We should use alternative materials to reduce cost without compromising on quality. Time is the most important aspect in construction, it is the biggest asset,” added Gadkari.
He urged the industry to explore the idea of using greener alternatives in road construction. The infrastructure construction industry should find alternatives to cement and other raw materials. glass fibre steel can be used in place of steel. Gadkari stated that with competition the cost will come down and become reasonable.
He added, “One litre of ethanol costs Rs 62 but in terms of calorie value, a litre of petrol is equivalent to 1.3 litre of ethanol. Indian Oil collaborated with Russian Scientists and worked on the idea and now the Petroleum Ministry has certified the technology for making the calorie value of ethanol equivalent to petrol.”
He gave examples of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Worli-Bandra Sealink to illustrate leveraging capital markets for public infrastructure projects. Gadkari said, “Under Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT), our idea is to take money from poor people and give them 7-8% monthly return on their money. We have decided to go for capital markets, we will sell shares of maximum Rs 10 lakh to one person, they will invest, and we can raise resources.”
Gadkari stated that about 70% of the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway has already been completed. BVN Rao, Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee said, “Infrastructure will surely be recognised as a major hallmark of the country’s economic growth. The new steps taken by the government are helping the infra industry. Better harmony is need between the private and the government sector.”
Satish Parakh, President, India chapter of International Road Federation and MD, Ashoka Builcon stated, “At present 37km per day National Highways are being constructed per day but reaching the target of 100km per day is going to be a big challenge for the construction industry due to shortage of natural raw materials and resources. We have to adopt new technologies, and innovative construction materials to reduce natural resources to reach the target of 100km per day. Apart from construction of roads the vehicles also need to adopt newer technologies and automation.”