Nath`s $70bn `roadshow` rolls off in London

Kamal Nath brings his `roadshow` to Britain Sept 1 to attract British investment into India.

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2009, 00:03 AM IST

London: Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath brings his `roadshow` to Britain Sep 1 to attract British investment into India, which he says will build more roads than any other country over the next two years.

Kamal Nath will spend two days in London Sept 1-2 talking to business leaders, bankers and investors, telling them there is money to be made investing in India`s roads in the current financial climate.

India plans to build 35,000 km of national highways over the next three to four years - or 20 km of roads a day. In 2009-10 alone, the plan is to lay down nearly 15,000 km of roads.

However, the current rate of progress is painfully slow at just three km of roads per day.

Kamal Nath, a well known figure in the business community in Britain and elsewhere in the West, is also expected to tell investors that investing in Indians roads is a business worth around $70 billion, more than half of which will come from the private sector.

Traffic on Indian roads is growing at 7 to 10 percent per year, rapidly overtaking economic growth, and the construction of new roads is part of a massive development agenda announced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

A key message that will be going out to the British investment and construction business community will be the profitability of the roads infrastructure sector in India.

"The number of vehicles using toll roads is shooting up by the day, and there is also a much greater acceptability of toll roads," said an Indian business official in London.

"Today, the public in India is ready to pay for such services."

Kamal Nath will be accompanied by a number of Indian business figures, including Hindustan Construction Company chairman and managing director Ajit Gulabchand, Feedback Ventures chairman Vinayak Chatterjee and JCB India Managing Director Vipin Sondhi.