But toll collection rose during lock down, asserts Gadkariby Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
New Delhi, Aug 9
The Road Transport & Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari may have been making headlines for setting one record after the other in building highways in the country. But he was stumped in the Rajya Sabha by his own party leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
The Rajya Sabha MP and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar asked Gadkari whether the debt of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had touched a record high of Rs 3.17 lakh crores in March 2021 from Rs 73385 crores in March 2017.
Gadkari responded saying that the NHAI debt had risen to Rs 3.07 lakh crores from ₹ 2.49 lakh crores in March 2020.
Further, total borrowing of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) increased from Rs 74,742 crore outstanding as on March 2017 to ₹ 3,06,704 crore in March 2021.
Since 2017, NHAI has availed external borrowing to the tune of ₹ 3,000 crore.
When Modi asked if the toll revenue decreased by 4 per cent to around ₹ 26,000 Crores between April 2020 to March 31, 2021, Gadkari emphatically denied it.
Gadkari said, “On the contrary, toll collection has increased by approximately 3.3 %.
He also informed Sushil Modi that there are 140 Arbitration Cases pending before various Arbitration Tribunals wherein amount of Rs 91,875.70 Crore of the Contractors/Concessionaires claims are involved in adjudication. In addition, Rs 44,600 Crore of NHAI’s Counter Claims is also involved for adjudication.
Further, 240 cases are pending before various courts wherein Rs 21,601 Crore is involved.
He said the interest paid on loans amounted to Rs 18,840 Crore. and a mechanism by which NHAI will do debt servicing and repayment is as under:
The NHAI has been creating valuable road assets which are financially viable. Since 2017, NHAI has constructed a total of 17,042 km of public funded roads, with an expenditure of about Rs.4.08 lac crore. The completed public funded road assets are being tolled. Since 2017, NHAI has serviced its Debt amounting to Rs 74,337 cr, Gadkari said.