The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is making all-out efforts to speed up award and construction of highways and would bid out projects for 3,500 km by December. "NHAI has invited bids for projects of 4,900 km till November, 2017, while bids for another 3,500 km are likely to be invited by December end, taking the total to 8,400 km," the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement. It said projects for bidding during January-March 2018 will be identified by the end of the month. "Projects worth Rs 22,100 crore and covering 1,170 km have already been awarded so far and the bids for many other projects are under evaluation," the statement said. Some of the projects that were bid out this year include Dwarka Expressway in Delhi, Varanasi Ring Road Phase-II in Uttar Pradesh, Khambataki Ghat 6-lane Tunnel on Pune - Satara Section in Maharashtra, Jodhpur Ring Road in Rajasthan and fully access controlled expressway with connectivity to Visakhapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh. In the ongoing fiscal, NHAI has completed 1,566 km length of the projects under implementation till November, 2017 (5,060 lane km). "The average in last 5 years of length constructed by NHAI is 2,175 km with 2,628 km constructed in 2016-17 fiscal. This year NHAI is targeting to construct 3,500 km," the statement said. The government said work on 12 new projects (covering 597 km) has commenced and will start soon on another 38 projects (covering 1,969 km). Banks and financial institutions are now showing keen interest in hybrid annuity mode, it said. NHAI is making all-out efforts to achieve its target of awarding 10,000 km during 2017-18, the statement said adding, the Authority is also gearing up to meet its target of completing Phase I of the "Bharatmala Pariyojana" within the next five years, that is up to 2021-22. During the last 5 years, NHAI's average award has been 2,860 km, with 4,335 km awarded in 2016-17 fiscal. While approving the Bharatmala project, the government had authorised NHAI Board to appraise and approve projects on Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) mode, which constitute 30 per cent of the project. Accordingly, the NHAI Board constituted two committees for appraising projects worth over Rs 500 crore and internal appraisal committees for appraising projects up to Rs 500 crore, besides delegating power to Chairman to approve projects up to Rs 500 crore and to the executive committee of NHAI for projects costing Rs 500-1,000 crore.