Massive new opportunities are opening up for building roads, bridges and other infrastructure facilities for U.K. businesses in India, the chairperson of the U.K.-India Business Council, Patricia Hewitt, said.
“From consultancy and legal expertise to building and operating Indian roads and other projects, the U.K. has world-class expertise. UKIBC will bring British businesses together to ensure that we assist in meeting India’s infrastructure needs,” she said.
Ms. Hewitt was speaking at the Highways Infrastructure Round Table organised by the U.K.-India Business council and CII, which was also addressed by India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Kamal Nath.
At the meet, Mr. Nath unveiled the “largest PPP (public private partnership) programme in the world” for building 7,000 km of roads annually at an investment of $80 billion over the next 3-4 years. The Minister’s proposal was greeted by UK PLC with a positive response, an UKIBC press release said.
Ms. Hewitt said “our legal, financial, engineering consultants and surveyors have a great deal to offer. To bring the best of India and the U.K. together, we should make a concerted effort to set up a ‘PPP centre of excellence’ This collaboration will be a true catalyst for developing infrastructure in India, not just highways, but also ports, power stations and water infrastructure.”
Philip Bouverat of JCB India, which has a 53 per cent market share in the domestic construction equipment segment, said he was confident that “the Minister would be able to raise the finance he is targeting as he is a very good persuader.”
Allaying fears of red tape, Mr. Nath said, “Capacity-building for construction in India is required. To facilitate this, we have introduced many policy changes. We want participation not only in investment but in design, construction, maintenance and financing.”