Source: The Economics Times, May 19, 2017
NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious target of awarding Rs 5 lakh crore worth of highway contracts, totalling about 50,000 km, in the last two years of its tenure, surpassing the cumulative road length awarded for paying in the last five years.
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told ET that the contracts will be for 44 economic corridors and 10 expressways, and would include the ‘chardham’ connectivity programme, northeast connectivity programme and the borders-linking projects. Over the last five years, the government could award only 40,000 km of fresh highway length for construction.
“We have planned several projects that would be very crucial for overall development of the country. These new highways would decongest the existing roads, bringing down logistics cost by 5-6%,” Gadkari told ET. “My ministry’s vision is that a freight vehicle should move on highways without restrictions and should be able to do at least 400 km per day. It will have very positive impact on the logistics industry.”
At present, there are 10 expressway projects at various stages of implementation. Gadkari said his ministry would raise money through NHAI bonds, monetisation of highways and additional allocation in budgetary support. He said the Centre’s first expressway, the Eastern peripheral expressway, would be ready in a few months.
Most of these projects would be undertaken on the hybrid annuity model, where the government shares the project risk with the private partner and bears 40% of the project cost upfront.
Of the 50,000 km of road length that will be awarded for construction, paving work for 30,000 km of highways will start in the last two years, the ministry has said.
This fiscal, the government is targeting construct of almost 15,000 km of highways, up 45% from what it achieved in FY17. Over the last three years, the ministry has awarded contracts for over 34,000 km of roads as compared with 15,000 km awarded by the UPA government in its last three years.Actual construction in the last three years has been about 22,000 km as compared with 6,000 km during the last three years of the UPA government.