New highways worth Rs 15 lakh crore in next two years: Gadkari

The government is planning to build highways worth Rs 15 lakh crore in the next two years, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday in a video conference with the society of Indian automobile manufacturers (SIAM). The road transport, highways and MSME minister also said that the auto scrapping policy is likely to be finalised soon. In an event organised to look into the impact of COVID-19 on the automobile sector, the minister suggested to focus on enhancing liquidity in business, as ups and downs are common. The Union minister, while informing about the road construction target of Rs 15 lakh crore in the next two years, said that his ministry is working overtime to clear all arbitration cases with concessionaires.

He responded to the questions from representatives and assured all possible help from the government. He informed that he would take up the issues at the appropriate level in the government and other departments. The minister also informed that he has directed the ministry officials to finalise the auto scrapping policy quickly, which, he said, will go a long way in cost reduction. “I have been trying to pursue the scrapping policy for the last two years. We need cooperation from other ministries, stakeholders. Have told the secretary to follow it up as soon as possible. This is one of the steps to boost the industry because it will reduce production,” Gadkari said. “I will find out what are the obstacles. We will clear it and go ahead,” he said. The vehicle scrappage policy, which awaits clearance from the Finance Ministry, aims to eliminate the fleet of old polluting vehicles and boost demand.

On the question of BS4 vehicles, he said the government is bound by the Supreme Court verdict in this regard. However, on industry suggestion, he said that he would get the matter examined afresh. Regarding relaxations sought on other regulations, Gadkari stated that he would endeavour to provide relief wherever possible where the industry is seeking an extension of time. The minister added that one needs to plan for bad times while working for growth. He also said that the industry should focus more on innovation, technology, and research skill to become competitive in the global market.

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