Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has warned against labelling investors as “anti-nationals or criminals’, saying sometimes "bonafide" defaulters need support to find their way out of the debt burden.

Just ahead of the second anniversary of the Narendra Modi government, the Road Transport and Highways Minister, ranked as one of the best performers of the NDA dispensation, blamed the media for dubbing investors as criminals.

In an interview to The Statesman, Gadkari said, “The problem is the environment that people and media are creating against investors in the country.  Industrialists with malafide default should face strict action, but bonafide defaulters need our help.”

Gadkari added, “Today the atmosphere in the country is such that every defaulter is seen as anti-national or a criminal. Everywhere inquiry starts. The CBI or CVC go to banks and the bank manager is not morally in a position to sanction loans.”

Road construction is a sector open for 100 per cent foreign direct investment but due to implementation issues foreign companies have been keeping a distance. Accepting that banks have still not favoured players in the road construction space, Mr Gadkari, however, maintained that a lot has changed as his ministry has addressed several policy issues like project clearance and toll collections.

On the Delhi-Agra Yamuna waterway project, the minister said work is on and the first route on the Yamuna will be operational in three months.  He said a depth of three metres has to be ensured in the Yamuina throughout the year and several agencies have to be involved in the project.  “We will see sea planes, catamarans and hovercraft in Yamuna,” Mr Gadkari said.

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‘Fast track decision-making is vital’

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