The problem in this case is not of the money lapsing due to late or inadequate use: there is a dedicated fund for development and maintenance of national highways. When the fund was created nearly five years before, the expectation was that it would expedite utilisation. And, though Parliaments standing committee on the sector, in its 74th report, at the end of last year, had noted substantial progress over two years in this regard, the fact is progress is woefully inadequate. Why
Part of the reason, apart from lack of political will, is that states are often unable to bring in their share of funds. Another reason is that the conditions specified are quite stringent. Consequently, contractors are reluctant to come forward. The net result is that despite the crying need for such infrastructure and availability of funds, in practice there is little or no progress on the ground.
Unfortunately, efforts at attracting private investment in the sector have had only limited success so far. Clearly, it is time to do more thinking on private-public partnerships in this area. Outside stretches of expressways, the build-operate-transfer model hasnt found so many takers and this is true for tollways, too. It is in the interest of all players to come up with more ways of marrying enterprise with funding.