The central government is looking at ways to generate extra revenue from the highways, according to union Minister Nitin Gadkari.Gadkari handles the shipping, road transport and highways portfolio."We are looking out for additional income generation opportunities from toll booths," Gadkari said on the sidelines of a seminar on Ports and Highways organised by the Indian Chamber Of Commerce here Tuesday.The highway authorities will be using cement-concrete roads which is cost effective, he said."Compared to the construction of bitumen roads, the construction cost as well as maintenance cost of cement-concrete roads will be less by 18-20 percent," he said.Slags, the residue of iron ore, will also be used during the construction process.
To ease the financial process involved in the construction of highways, the government has approved 100 percent FDI for foreign companies with an Indian partner."We are in the process of implementing e-toll system across the highways to save Rs.60,000 crore of fuel wastage arising on account of congestion and develop opportunities centred on highways for generation of extra revenue".He said the government has started a joint venture with the ICICI bank and Axis Bank to embark upon the project and have converted 110 tolls into e-tolls and by December, and that a total of 350 highway tolls will be converted. A budget of Rs.800-900 crore has been allocated for the same.According to the minister, Rs.60,000 crore worth of fuel is wasted due to congestion in highway tolls and another Rs.28,000 crore is converted into dead assets resulting in a loss of Rs.88,000 crore to the central exchequer.