India to monetise 105 highway projects: Gadkari

India will monetise 105 highway projects for about Rs 145,000 crore in the coming years as part of new innovative models of financing, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today.

"The traffic density in India is very high and the internal return on rates is very good," the Minister of road transport and highways said during a presentation on India Integrated Transport & Logistics Summit 2017 which will be held in New Delhi from May 3-5.

"105 projects will be monetised (for about) Rs 145,000 crore," Gadkari said.

"Now we require investments because there is no risk factor," he said, assuring of a good rate of return from highway toll collections.

"Particularly, for new investment, there are a lot of innovative models," said Gadkari who also launched a roadshow for promoting National High Authority of India's (NHAI) first rupee-denominated masala bonds here yesterday.

He also highlighted NHAI's AAA ratings.

"There are opportunities ... we are very transparent ...

and very committed to the progress," he said.

Responding to financing and funding questions from delegates, the minister said he would be using "100 per cent of the National Investment Infrastructure Fund," an another innovative way of financing projects.

Among some of the challenging projects, Gadkari assured that Brahmaputra Express Highway will be developed as a national highway.

It will be the first highway project in the northeastern region which will be developed along the Brahmaputra river in Assam at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore.

"We are serious about it. We will declare it as a national highway and we will work on it," he assured.

Detailed project report is expected in about three months for the 1,300-km of the highway, construction of which would be completed in about three years.

A new company has been formed for road construction in the North East, he said.

"Connectivity in the North East is the most important priority for our government," he said.

Elaborating, he stressed, "We have sanctioned more than Rs 40,000 crore of projects and I am confident within two years it would be Rs 1,50,000 crore for road construction in North East which is going to change the face of North East.
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