Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday (July 16) said that people have to pay toll if they want good roads, making it clear that the toll system would stay as the government does not have enough funds.
Replying to a discussion on demands for grants for the Road Transport and Highways ministry in the Lok Sabha, he said that the government built 40,000 kms highway in the last five years.
Amid concerns expressed by some members over collection of toll in different parts of the country, Gadkari said the money collected through toll from those areas, which have
capacity to pay, are utilised for building roads in rural and hilly areas.
“Toll zindagi bhar band nahi ho sakta… kam zyaada ho saktha hai. Toll ka jaanamdata mein hoon… (Toll system can never end though the rates may vary from time to time. Toll is my brain child,” Gadkari said.
“If you want good services, you have to pay for it. Government does not have money…,” he stressed. Underlining that land acquisition is a major problem in road construction projects, Gadkari urged that state governments should come out with solutions and help find a way out.
Gadkari said his ministry was not moving forward with the project without 80 per cent of land acquisition and this principle is being followed very strictly. He said the land acquisition process is very slow in West Bengal and Bihar.
Noting that more than 400 projects worth 3.85 lakh crore were closed when he assumed charge of the ministry in 2014, Gadkari said the Modi government saved NPAs worth ₹3 lakh crore during the past five years by beginning work on these projects.
“There were 403 projects pending when the Narendra Modi government came to power, involving a cost of ₹3,85,000 crore. It is a great achievement of the Indian government that we saved bankers of ₹3 lakh crore of NPAs and now 90 per cent of projects are
moving fast,” he said.
Gadkari also informed the House that the ministry is working on a new green expressway from New Delhi to Mumbai, which can be covered in 12 hours. It will pass through most backward and tribal areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and also save ₹16,000 crore in land acquisition.