Work will begin on three Rs 50,000-crore river-interlinking projects within three months. This was said by water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister Nitin Gadkari.
“We will hold meetings with the concerned chief ministers soon to sort out inter-state issues, so that the three projects can take off within the next three months,” the minister said after reviewing functioning of the National Water Development Authority.
The projects aim to link Ken and Betwa rivers, Damanganga and Pinjal, and Par, Tapi and Narmada rivers.
Gadkari said the three projects are ready with all the necessary approvals. He said Damanganga-Pinjal will be the first project to take off.
He has spoken to the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat and all water sharing related issues have been informally resolved.
FUNDS FOR HIGHWAYS
Gadkari said the roads ministry will soon raise funds through bonds from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), that will further boost the government’s highway construction plans.
The National Highways Authority of India has been allowed to raise `59,000 crore through bonds in the current financial year. The government is already in the process of raising Rs 15,000 crore through EPFO.
“We are looking at various innovative mechanisms such as raising money by issuing NHAI bonds to retail investors but all of that is still at conceptualization stage. We will do that only when we exhaust institutional mechanisms,” the minister said.
He said EPFO and LIC are willing to lend to the roads ministry at the cheapest possible rates. The government is aiming to construct 15,000 km of national highways in 2017-18.
With inputs from: Economic Times