NHAI's total borrowings increased to ₹3.6 lakh crore in March this year
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) increased its total borrowings to ₹3,06,704 crore in March this year from ₹74,742 crore in March of 2017, Road Transport minister Nitin Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha. NHAI has availed external borrowing to the tune of ₹3,000 crore since 2017, he added.
The amount of interest paid by the agency in fiscal year 2020-21 stood at ₹18,840 crore. Apart from these, Gadkari also informed that about 140 arbitration cases are pending before various arbitral tribunals for adjudication involving an amount of ₹91,875.70 crore of the contractors/ concessionaires claims and ₹44,600 crore of NHAI's counterclaims. Another 240 cases are pending before the court involving ₹21,601 crore.
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In a separate reply, Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha that the central government has not notified green tax on older vehicles. However, states/UTs including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand have imposed higher rates of tax on older vehicles.
He also informed that various state governments/ Union Territories have approached the ministry for declaration of state roads, including the State Highways (SHs) as new National Highways (NHs). However, he said that though the ministry does consider declaration of some state roads, including the SHs, as new NHs from time-to-time, it is based on requirement of connectivity, availability of funds as well as inter-se priority.
The ministry is also working on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway that is likely to be completed ahead of expected time. According to reports, the second phase of the expressway, which falls between UP Gate and Dasna in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh, may see completion of construction by the end of this month. Gadkari is likely to inaugurate the expressway around first week of September, after the second phase is completed.
(with inputs from PTI)