The Centre will get toll revenues worth Rs 1,000 to 1,500 crore every month once the much awaited Delhi-Mumbai Expressway becomes operational in 2023, says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Describing the state-owned NHAI as a “gold mine” for generating income, Gadkari said the body will rake in annual toll income to the tune of Rs 1.40 lakh crore in the next five years from the current level of Rs 40,000 crore.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will pass through four states from the national capital. It is likely to be completed by March 2023 and is being built as part of the first phase of the Bharatmala Pariyojana. The eight-lane expressway, covering Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is expected to decrease the commute time to half from nearly 24 hours to 12 hours between the national capital and Mumbai.
“Once the Expressway is completed and opened for the public, we will get at least Rs 1,000-Rs 1,500 crore as toll revenues every month,” the Union Minister told PTI and pointed out that NHAI has received “AAA” rating and all its road projects are productive. “NHAI was not in a debt trap, and it will never be in a debt trap in future. It is a gold mine, and is on strong footing…in the next five years, NHAI’s toll income will rise to Rs 1.40 lakh crore per year from the current toll income of Rs 40,000 crore.”
Gadkari had recently informed the Rajya Sabha that total borrowings of NHAI increased to Rs 3,06,704 crore at the end of March this year, from Rs 74,742 crore in March 2017. While noting that investments in the infrastructure sector will create employment and accelerate the country’s economic growth, the minister said NHAI and the ministry are working on projects worth lakhs of crores. “When the economy is on a decline, then economies tells us that there is a need to increase investments in infrastructure.
India’s economy has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is slowly on the recovery path.