Road construction target: Nitin Gadkari eyes 41 km a day in FY18

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New Delhi | Published: April 6, 2017 5:19:10 AM

The Nitin Gadkari-led ministry of road transport and highways’ (MoRTH) steps to boost highway construction have yielded results, with the pace of highway construction reaching an all-time high of 23 km a day in 2016-17, up from 16.61 km a day in 2015-16.

Gadkari set the construction target for the current fiscal at 41km a day. (PTI)

The Nitin Gadkari-led ministry of road transport and highways’ (MoRTH) steps to boost highway construction have yielded results, with the pace of highway construction reaching an all-time high of 23 km a day in 2016-17, up from 16.61 km a day in 2015-16.

The pace, however, was still way lower than what was required to meet the construction target of 41 km a day set by MoRTH for this fiscal.

However, undeterred by the shortfall in target, Gadkari set the construction target for the current fiscal at 41km a day .

The minister had earlier attributed the slow pace of highway construction to problems in land acquisition and utility shifting, non-availability of aggregates, poor performance of contractors and delay in various clearances.

Sources in the ministry said that the pace of highway construction would be higher in the subsequent years as awards of projects were higher in the last two fiscals. Unlike in the past, MoRTH or NHAI, two implementing agencies, do not award any highway project unless 90% of the land is available.

Apart from the continued torpor in private investments — build–operate–transfer (BOT) projects have barely kicked off and the hybrid annuity model that mitigates developers’ risk too has seen only moderate success. Over-optimistic targets were also to blame for the slippage, analysts said. The construction target for 2016-17 was 2.5 times what was accomplished in the previous fiscal.

The government has taken several steps to address the private investment famine in the sector. It eased the exit policy for developers to enable them invest in new projects and introduced the hybrid annuity model where the Centre bears 40% of the project cost.

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