NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created a pipeline of projects worth Rs 8 lakh crore which will be awarded over the next three years, as the government begins the exercise of creating a national infrastructure pipeline to make India a $5-trillion economy over the next five years.

The finance ministry in September this year announced the setting up of a highlevel task force to identify infrastructure projects to drive Rs 100-lakh-crore investment in the sector by 2024-25.

“We have created a project pipeline of projects worth Rs 7-8 lakh crore, to be recommended to the committee set up by the finance ministry,” a government official told ET, requesting not to be identified.

“The projects have been identified largely from Bharatmala phase-I, including some other strategic ones which the government wants to build,” the official said.

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These projects will be awarded between the current fiscal and FY 22. The task force, headed by secretary, department of economic affairs, will submit a report on pipeline of projects for the current financial year by end of October, while that for the fiscal years 2021-25 is to be ready by December this year.

The projects identified by the highways building authority are currently being appraised by the ministry of road transport and highways.

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These projects, however, are likely to be bid out under the engineering, construction, procurement (EPC) mode, as private investors’ sentiments remain dull for projects to be awarded on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis.

NHAI has also begun the process of streamlining land acquisition process for these projects so that the money is pumped back into the market.

“NHAI is one of the main drivers of infrastructure in our country, so when we start to award these projects, it will spur economic activity in the country,” the official said.

While NHAI’s pipeline is more than welcome at the present juncture, the scale of investments will need to go up significantly for the government to meet its infrastructure investments targets, market watchers said.

“We will need an annual investment of .`20 lakh crore over next five years. Given an infrastructure project takes around four years from concept to completion, the visibility of projects should measure up to around Rs 80 lakh crore a year,” said Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman, Feedback Infra.

“We have just begun this exercise, we could add projects depending on the appetite of the market,” the official quoted above said.



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