Just 30% of the highway construction target for 2016-17 was achieved in the first nine months of the year, reports Surya Sarathi Ray in New Delhi. When it comes to award of new projects, the accomplishment during April-December was even lower at 27% of the yearly target. That means that pace of highway construction was 17 km a day, a far cry form the 41 km-per-day goal set by the ministry of road transport and highways.
Clearly, with private investments (read BOT projects) not gathering steam, the government’s efforts to push activity in the sector with the use of its own funds (EPC projects) have brought only moderate results.
The construction and award of highways in April-December this year was higher than a year ago by 16% and 7%, respectively, (see chart).With the end of the monsoon, the pace of construction is set to gather momentum in the remaining months, ministry sources said. Admitting that things are far behind the schedule, the sources said at best 10,000-km new highways, two-thirds of the target, could be built this year. New projects awards were unlikely to cross 15,000 km, against the targeted 25,000 km, they said.