Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways is all set to meet bank CEOs today. According to BTVi, focus on issuing RFID tags for smooth toll operations, stall projects would be discussed in the meeting. “10 BoT, 13 Hybrid annuity projects awaiting financial closure to be taken up. ICICI, Axis Bank, SBI and HDFC Bank’s CEOs to meet Gadkari today,” the business news channel reported.
Meanwhile even as the pace of highway construction at 17 km per day till December this fiscal remains a far cry from the 41 km-per-day goal set by his ministry, Gadkari is undeterred and has retained the target for the 2017-18 fiscal. The minister is confident that the pace of construction would touch 30 km per day by the end of March this year, which would essentially mean another 6,000-odd km of highway construction in the January-March period. MoRTH sources, however, said even as construction has picked up in recent times with the elapse of the monsoon season, 30 km a day target would be difficult to achieve.
Sources said the target for project awards for 2017-18 has also been kept at 25,000 km, the same as the current fiscal. Till April-December, 6,996 km of highway projects have been awarded and the ministry targets to take the number to 15,000 km by the end of March.
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The minister said the Rs 64,900 crore budgetary allocation for the highways sector, up by 12% over the BE of 2016-17, would also exert more speed in the road construction.