Highway construction at decent 28 km/day in April, despite second Covid wave

By: |
May 25, 2021 7:55 AM

According to data compiled by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), all implementing agencies including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had constructed 210 km of national highways in April last year. In March 2021, a total of 2,189 km highway was built.

In April this year, project awards also increased to 311 km from 260 km awarded in April last year.In April this year, project awards also increased to 311 km from 260 km awarded in April last year.

Despite Covid-induced lockdowns and restrictions on mobility in a large part of the country, highway construction quadrupled in April this year to 853 km compared with the same month last year, which saw complete nationwide lockdown. The pace of construction has been a decent 28km/day in April 2021, even as it declined by 61% month-on-month.

According to data compiled by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), all implementing agencies including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had constructed 210 km of national highways in April last year. In March 2021, a total of 2,189 km highway was built.

“Last fiscal, the national highways sector thumbed nose at Covid-19 and delivered a stellar performance, riding on higher project awards, record construction, and traffic that surpassed pre-pandemic levels once the lockdowns were lifted in the second half. Though the second wave of infections has dampened this momentum, it may not have a material bearing on growth for the current fiscal,” Crisil said in a report.

Highway construction touched an all-time high of 13,298 km in 2020-21 at a record pace of 36.4 km/day. Analysts attribute the record construction to a slew of industry-friendly measures that the government had proactively taken during the pandemic year, including those to ensure better cash flow to the contractors.

In April this year, project awards also increased to 311 km from 260 km awarded in April last year.

Crisil said despite the pandemic, NHAI awarded projects totalling 4,818 km last fiscal – a three-fiscal high – underscoring the government’s sharp focus on the infrastructure sector and expects that the trend to continue in the current fiscal as developers will be able to free up capital through stake sales.

NHAI has set an ambitious 4,600 km highway construction target for the current fiscal. Last fiscal, NHAI constructed a record 4,192 km, up from 3,979 km developed in 2019-20 and 3,380 km in 2018-19.

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