Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Highway Construction target revised

April 27, 2010: Road and Transport Minister Kamal Nath, in a statement here announced that the Indian government has revised its target for building highways to 12-13 km a day this financial year, down from its ambitious target of 20 kilometers a day.

Nath was speaking at the inauguration of the 'India Infrastructure Summit 2010' organised by FICCI. Elaborating on the lowering of targets, he clarified, “To do 20 km of highways a day, you need to have in place 20,000 km of work-in-progress. We still have a long way to go in this regard and we need to ensure that roads that are built are not at crossroads with the people... For that (target of 20 km per day), we need to develop a system which requires adequate infrastructure, manpower and technology.”

He also assured the government is taking up infrastructure development on a war footing, and that it has proposed to introduce a national permit scheme for freight movement by road next month for hurdle-free transportation of goods across India.

The government had, last year set a target of building 20 km of highways every day as part of its plans to improve infrastructure, and has allowed 100 percent foreign direct investment in the sector. But so far, it has been able to achieve a rate of less than 10 km a day, due to problems in acquiring land and awarding contracts.

Nath also said the government will award contracts to build 15,000 km of highways by March 2011, including a backlog of 6,000 km.

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