Expect to get Cabinet nod for InvIT by Sept; plan to raise Rs 75K cr from market in FY20: NHAI Chief
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New Delhi: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) expects to get Cabinet nod for floating its infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) in two to three months, its Chairman N N Sinha said Wednesday. To fund the country's ambitious highways building plans, including Bharatmala, NHAI also plans to mobilise Rs 75,000 crore from the market this fiscal, he said.

"This is the first time we are attempting something like this (InvIT) so cannot say firmly when the trust will take shape. We expect to get Cabinet approval in two to three months and implementation will take four to five months," Sinha said on the sidelines of an event here. He said the NHAI board has already approved the InvIT and talks are on with market regulator SEBI for its approval.

InvITs are instruments on the pattern of mutual funds and are designed to pool small sums of money from a number of investors to invest in assets that give cash flow over a period of time. Besides InvIT, NHAI is looking at raising Rs 75,000 crore from the market this fiscal. "In this year we propose to mobilise around Rs 75,000 crore from the market and a significant part of the highways development comes from the borrowings ...Our ministry is looking at creating an agency for financing... This is a long term issue," he said.

Sinha said NHAI is also looking to tap the carbon credit market for various green highways, including the Delhi-Mumbai expressway that is set to reduce travel time between the two metros to 12-13 hours from the present 24 hours. "We know that green highways like Delhi-Mumbai goes through backward area...with controlled access the speed of movement will be much more....This should also ensure tapping the carbon credit market. Our ministry is looking at various modes of mobilisation of resources for the highways development programme," he said.

Sinha said NHAI is going to tap all kinds of resources to propel infrastructure growth and contribute towards making India a USD 5 trillion economy. He emphasised that growth of economy is critically linked to the highways sector.

Earlier, addressing the National Roads and Highways Summit organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said due to escalation in land acquisition cost, Bharatmala's timeline could be stretched. "Forty four economic corridors have been identified for construction of 9,000 km under Bharatmala based on surveys of 12,000 km of routes and mapping of 600 cities," he said. Sinha said economic corridors would assure last mile connectivity and eventually the target was to reduce the existing logistics cost to about 8-9 per cent from 14-15 per cent. Regarding electronic toll, he said it will be worked out within three months and cash payments will be discouraged for hassle-free movement of cargo and passengers through toll plazas. "Payment of cash will be at a premium to what we pay through FASTag. And that is not to discriminate but ensure efficiency," he added.

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