Unhappy over the proposed reduction in budget outlay for 2017-18, the Road Ministry has requested the Finance Ministry to allocate Rs 90,904 crore to help complete ongoing highway projects in time and compensate for the toll revenue losses following demonetisation.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) said it needs higher allocation to carry forward the ongoing work and also to compensate concessionaires who lost revenue because of withdrawal of tolling following the demonetisation, a source told PTI.
The Road Ministry conveyed it to the Finance Ministry that “as against our proposal of Rs 90,904 crore for Budget Estimate (BE) 2017-18, the indicated outlay for BE 2017-18 is only Rs 58,362 crore…The proposed reduction in allocation of national highways (NH) sector would cause a major setback in the progress of ongoing projects and in the achievement of targets,” the source added.
The outlay for Revised Estimate (RE) 2016-17 is proposed to be reduced from BE 2016-17 outlay of Rs 57,976 crore to Rs 52,447 crore as against the proposal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) of Rs 62,489 crore, the source said.
“As MoRTH have substantial liabilities and 36,500 Km of NH projects costing more than Rs 3 lakh crore are in progress, the road ministry requested the Finance Ministry to restore its BE 2016-17 outlay of Rs 57,976 crore at RE 2016-17 stage so that payments for ongoing works and committed liabilities are not delayed,” he said.
The Road Ministry said that in the absence of assured funding, it would not be possible to properly plan, prepare and award NH projects, involving a gestation period of 3 to 5 years. Therefore, MoRTH requested that in addition to restoring the RE 2016-17 outlay to Rs 57,976 crore, the full outlay as proposed should be provided for BE 2017-18, the source said.