In its latest report tabled in the Parliament, the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, also asked the NHAI to prioritize its projects that are already delayed.
The transaction is done at an enterprise value of up to Rs 1,600 crore. (Representative Image)
A parliamentary panel, unhappy over delayed highway projects worth Rs 3.15 lakh crore, has asked the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to prioritize the completion of these road projects instead of announcing new projects. The delayed 888 number of highway projects pertain to the development of 27,665 kilometres of national highways, according to a PTI report. In its latest report tabled in the Parliament, the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, also asked the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) to prioritize its projects that are already delayed.
The 31-member committee chaired by TG Venkatesh said that delays cause huge time loss and greater fuel consumption, to several road users across India, other than the increase in the cost of the project that has to be incurred by the ministry. Keeping in view the delays in projects in various states, the ministry has been asked by the panel to evolve a delay-resolution mechanism.
The panel said while the state of Maharashtra, as compared to other states, has an abnormally high number of delayed road projects, it is equally worried over long delays in the completion of 4-laning project in the Gaya-Hisua-Rajgir-Nalanda-Bihar Sharif stretch as well as the road project of Patna-Gaya-Dobhi linking Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya. The panel also expressed concerns over other road projects that are delayed including Goa-Karnataka and Goa border-Mumbai project other than a bypass construction project on NH-77 at Muzaffarpur, Bihar as well as ongoing road projects at Kaudiyala in the state of Uttarakhand.
The committee suggests the ministry look into the reasons behind these project delays as well as sort them out so as to complete them at the earliest. The panel also expressed concern that against 6,469 kilometres target during the current financial year, the ministry has been only able to award 2,517 kilometres till January 2021. Similarly, as against the target of 4,571 kilometres under the scheme, the ministry has been only able to complete the construction of 2,273 kilometres.
If this trend continues, the ministry would not be able to meet the targeted timeline for completion of Phase-1 of Bharatmala Pariyojna by 2025-26, which is already lagging four years behind the originally targeted Phase -1 completion by the financial year 2021-22, the panel said. The committee while expressing its displeasure over a debt servicing liability of whopping Rs 97,115 crore on NHAI, asked the highway authority to explore restructuring of existing debt as well as look for options to raise long-term funds.