Govt may buy equity in stalled road projects

The government is open to buying equity in some of the 189 stalled highway projects where Rs1.8 lakh crore is locked up due to pending clearances, in a bid to jumpstart the highway sector.
It has also decided to put all public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the road sector on hold for some time as just a few infrastructure firms have capacity to invest in new projects. With banks having stopped lending to this sector, the Centre is looking at alternative financing from pension funds. Instead, the focus would be on new highway building through EPC for which the government foots the bill.
The PM has asked the union road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari to lead a panel that would review all stuck projects.
The ministry has resolved problems facing projects worth Rs40,000 crore and hopes to remove hurdles facing the rest of the projects so that work can start on most of them by August 15. The big reasons that projects are stuck were land acquisition, forest and environmental clearances, defence land tracts on highway alignments and delays in clearances for rail overbridges from the railways.

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