New Delhi: The loan on the head of India's national highway constructor is piling up faster than you can imagine. The total borrowings of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) increased to Rs 3,06,704 crore in March this year from Rs 74,742 crore in March 2017, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Gadkari said since 2017, NHAI has availed external borrowing to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore.
Interest amount has reached Rs 18,840 crore
The minister informed that the amount of interest paid by NHAI in 2020-21 was Rs 18,840 crore. As of date, there are 140 arbitration cases pending before various arbitral tribunals, wherein an amount of Rs 91,875.70 crore of the contractors' or concessionaires' claims and Rs 44,600 crore of NHAI's counterclaims are involved for adjudication, he said in a written reply.
"Works on notified NHs, including newly declared NHs, are taken up as per inter-se priority, the progress of ongoing works, availability of funds, and traffic density"- Nitin Gadkari
Further, there are 240 cases pending before the courts wherein Rs 21,601 crore is involved.
Responding to another question, Gadkari said the Centre has not notified green tax on older vehicles.
However, state governments and Union Territories (UTs) of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, etc have imposed higher rates of tax on older vehicles, he said in a separate written reply.
Declaration of National Highways
Gadkari said the ministry was approached by various state governments and UTs for the declaration of state roads, including the State Highways (SHs) as new National Highways (NHs). "The ministry considers the declaration of some state roads, including the SHs, as new NHs from time to time based on the requirement of connectivity, inter-se priority, and availability of funds", the Minister said in another written reply.
"Works on notified NHs, including newly declared NHs, are taken up as per inter-se priority, the progress of ongoing works, availability of funds, and traffic density," he added.
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