The pace of highway construction fell to a four-year low of 24 km/day during the April-February period of the current fiscal. In the whole of 2020-21, highway construction had hit an all-time high of 36.5 km a day, despite the pandemic.
The pace of construction may go up to 28 km a day for the current fiscal year, if all executing agencies including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) manage to construct in March as much of highway stretches as they did last year (2,184 km).
Still, the the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) had pruned construction target for the current fiscal to 33 km/day from 40 km/day set earlier, due to slowing pace of construction pace in recent months.
The MoRTH’s original target was to build 14,600 km
highways in the entire 2021-22, up from 13,327 km constructed in 2020-21.
Highways have been the one segment that has consistently been weathering the broader economy’s travails and even the pandemic shock.
However, protracted rains have taken a toll on highway construction in the current year.
ICRA’s Rajeshwar Burla said, “The execution of projects remained lower than last year due to
multiple cyclones and heavy rains affecting the construction work in several southern states.”
Award of national highways was also lower at 7,618 km during the April-February period of the current fiscal, compared with 8,512 km during the corresponding period last fiscal.