Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
11-November-2010 12:46 IST
Kamal Nath seeks World Bank Assistance for Strengthening NITHE
The Minister for Road Transport & Highways Shri Kamal Nath has sought World Bank assistance for strengthening National Institute for Training of Highway Engineers (NITHE) to make it an Asian hub and a centre of excellence. The matter came up during Shri Nath’s discussions with World Bank President Mr. Robert Zoellick on issues relating to capacity building and institutional strengthening for faster implementation of Indian road projects on Wednesday in Singapore. NITHE, located in NOIDA, near Delhi, is the apex body under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for training and capacity building in the road sector. A Technical Assistance loan of 45 million US dollar has already been signed with the World Bank for the purpose of capacity building, institutional strengthening of NHAI and also to address programme level implementation challenges.

Shri Nath also held discussions with Mr. Zoellick on the US $ 2.96 billion loan which the Ministry has sought from the Bank for converting 3770 km single/ intermediate lane roads to 2-lane standards. Taking forward the matter, the various issues relating to implementation of this project were discussed with the World Bank President.

The Minister further discussed the issue of Viability Gap Funding (VGF)/ Annuity Funding by the Bank for PPP projects for which the Ministry is seeking a loan of 2 billion US Dollar from the Bank. Mr. Zoellick agreed to have the specific clauses in the Bank’s model document examined in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable model.

Minister Nath also sought the Bank’s inputs into the formulation of an appropriate model for the development of Expressways in India. The World Bank President suggested that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) may be involved to render technical advice in the matter.

Earlier, sharing his experience with leaders from various countries participating in the World Bank- Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit, Shri Nath highlighted the importance of integrating National Highways network with urban roads to facilitate faster & congestion free movement of traffic between the city centers and inter-urban roads. He informed the summit that his Ministry has finalized a programme of about US 4 billion dollars for constructing bypasses & ring roads around big cities, flyovers, under passes and interchanges in the congested locations to provide smoother connectivity with the inter-urban highways. Speaking about the infrastructure deficit at the Summit, Shri Nath attached importance to the issues concerning capacity building, and creation of an institutional mechanism for the urban infrastructure at local governance level for private sector financing and ability of municipalities to develop a proper revenue model.