The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has set an ambitious target of constructing 41 km of national highways every day in 2016-17, up from more than 16 km per day of highways it built in 2015-16.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry will award contracts for 25,000 km national highway projects, two-and-a-half times more than the projects it had sanctioned in the previous year. It has set a target of constructing 15,000 km of national highways in 2016-17 as against 6,000 km built last year, a statement issued by the Ministry, headed by Mr. Nitin Gadkari, said on Wednesday.
“Encouraged by the good performance of his Ministry in 2015-16, Mr. Gadkari expressed confidence that the pace of development that was established last year will result in even better outcomes during the current year. The Minister has set a target of 25,000 km of National Highways to be awarded in 2016- 17 as against the 10,000 km awarded in 2015-16,” the statement said. The Ministry said out of the total award target of 25,000 km, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will award 15,000 km and the remaining 10,000 km will be done by the Ministry.Road laying quickens
It also said that the construction of roads quickened by 36 per cent in 2015-16, due to several policy interventions. Some of the measures included more project approvals, enhanced inter-ministerial coordination, exit policy for developers, promoting the Hybrid Annuity Model, amendments to the Model Concession Agreement (MCA) for Build-Own-Transfer projects, among others. Earlier this month, Mr. Gadkari, had said the pace of road construction will reach 24-25 km a day by the end of May. After coming to power, the NDA government had set a target of building 30 km of highways everyday.Breaking the deadlock
The government had met bankers and road contractors in January this year in a bid to move forward over stalled highway projects worth Rs 40,000 crore. Mr. Gadkari had said that the number of stalled projects had come down from 384 to 74. To resolve disputes over such projects, the minister had recently proposed to the Finance Ministry that a four-member panel led by a former High Court judge be formed.