Monday, July 22, 2024

Ministry Urges NHAI and Others to Accelerate Highway Project Awards

As the awarding of contracts for new highway projects this fiscal year significantly lags behind targets, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has instructed its implementing agencies to enhance their progress in contract awards. Minister Nitin Gadkari emphasized the need for expedited pre-construction activities, including land acquisition and obtaining regulatory clearances, forest and wildlife approvals, and no-objection certificates from relevant authorities.

Gadkari stated in Rajya Sabha, “Implementing agencies have been advised to expedite pre-construction activities like land acquisition, regulatory clearance for environment, forest, wildlife and no objection certificates from different authorities through frequent and pro-active coordination with the state government and other concerned authorities.”

To monitor and expedite the progress in sanctioning and awarding projects, periodic review meetings are being conducted at various levels on a daily and weekly basis, the minister added.

In the current fiscal year until December 2023, implementing agencies have reported the award of 272 projects covering a total length of 3,111 km at a cost of approximately Rs 50,900 crore under various ministry schemes. This figure is less than half of the 7,123 km of highways awarded by the agencies last year. The ministry had already revised its target for the year to 10,000 km from the initial 12,500 km due to the slow pace of awards.

Officials believe that the revised target for the year can still be achieved, as most of the awards typically happen in February and March. The implementing agencies of the highways ministry include the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation, and the ministry’s roads wing.

While award figures are behind schedule, the pace of construction this fiscal year remains better than the previous year. Till December, 6,216 km of national highways have been built compared to 5,774 km in the same period last year.

Responding to another question, Gadkari mentioned that NHAI had constructed 3,720 km of highways until February this year, compared to 4,882 km during the entire 2022-23 period.

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