Big infrastructure boost by March 2019! The infrastructure sector of the country will soon witness a massive boost as around 300 big infrastructure projects have been identified and expedited by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Out of these, around 100 projects are likely to be completed by the end of this year. Earlier this week, a two-day review meeting was conducted in Goa, where Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who heads the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, reviewed the ongoing highways projects across 20 states. Over the two days, around 427 projects of NHAI and 311 projects of NHIDCL across 20 states have been reviewed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the targeted deadline for the completion of the 127 NHAI projects and 153 Ministry projects has been changed from June 2019 to March 2019. Also, around 100 ongoing projects are scheduled to be completed by December 2018. Nitin Gadkari has said that for the year 2018-19, the construction target of NHAI projects has been revised from 5058 km to 6000 km, however, the minister is confident that NHAI would surpass this target as well. The ongoing projects across Maharashtra and the North Eastern states are yet to be reviewed, the Union Minister has said.
Reviewing reasons for delay in highway projects implementation, it was noted that land acquisition, utility shifting, permission for cutting trees, environment clearance are key factors. Apart from these, for delay of projects, faulty Detailed Project Reports (DPR) has been found to be another big reason. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, very often DPRs are made without considering actual ground realities. Therefore, the ministry has decided to compile a list of such projects. The ministry also stated that the consultants who are found responsible for making faulty DPRs will be penalized and will be blacklisted.
According to a government release, Gadkari was happy to see the performance of states like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat in sorting out these issues and helping expedite the highways projects. However, he feels that states like Bihar and Odisha need to improve their performance in this regard. Nitin Gadkari also announced that good performers will be rewarded with incentives and poor performers may be blacklisted. The minister also mentioned that soon, he will conduct meetings with the heads of major banks in order to sort out issues related to flow of funds.
Recently, it was reported that in Modi government’s first four years till 2017-18, 73 percent more national highways have been constructed as compared to UPA government’s last four years beginning from 2010-11. Under Modi regime, a total of 28,531 km national highways has been constructed since 2014-15 as against 16,505 km by UPA government in four years till 2013-14.