19 stalled road projects to be resolved by end-January: Gadkari

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Nineteen stalled highway projects, some stuck for almost a decade, and involving investment held up of around Rs.40,000 crore, could be resolved following an ongoing stakeholders meeting here, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.

“We are expecting a solution tonight. My department says 5-6 of these problematic projects can be solved. In this meeting, we hope to do it,” Gadkari told reporters after a meeting here with bankers and contractors along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“In case we need to do some out-of-the box thinking on some difficult cases, I have suggested setting up a committee under the finance minister and with the secretaries of finance and road transport to decide on these,” he said.

“There are only 19 projects where no solution could be found out. Secretary, bankers and contractors sat today (Thursday)…under no circumstances should any project be pending before January 31,” he added.

Gadkari said that if issues remained unresolved, an “out of the box solution” would be found by the finance ministry in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office.

The minister said that as many as 384 projects had been stuck for the last 10 years due to issues like land acquisition, forest and environment clearances, railway over-bridge problems, litigations, delayed decisions and financial problems.

“The government has terminated 41 projects and solved problems related to all these projects barring 19,” Gadkari said.

These projects include national highways in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, involve contractors like like Larsen & Toubro, HCC, Gammon and Essel Infra, while the loans are from major state-run banks like State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of India.

Gadkari also said his ministry will soon launch a website for “cooperation, coordination and communication” where bankers and contractors could post their complaints and suggestions that would be scrutinised by the road transport secretary.

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