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MoRTH falters on highway construction, meets only half of target

Infra News - Published on Wed, 03 Jan 2018

Image Source: nhai.gov.in
DNA reported that the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has set an ambitious target for laying roads under the Bharatmala project, but it is just meeting half the current target of highway construction and project awards. The ministry has set a target of average construction of highway at 41.09 km per day, but has achieved just 22.55 km/ day as of November end.

Starting next fiscal, the government plans to lay 83000 km roads under the Bharatmala project by fiscal 2022.

For this, it will have to ensure that average daily highway construction has to be 56.85 km, which is even higher than the existing target.

Similarly, the current target set for awarding of highway works is an average 68.50 km/day, but only 43.70 km/ day has been achieved. During the initial two years of Bharatmala rollout, the average rate of awarding contracts will have to be much more than the existing target at above 70 km/ day.

Raising doubts if the government can achieve such a high target for Bharatmala, Shubham Jain, vice-president and sector head, corporate ratings at Icra, said, "The National Highway Development Programme, the largest highway project ever undertaken in the country till date, had achieved a progress of 26,255 km in 17 years. The cumulative awards and execution for the last eight years, by MoRTH stood at 61,977 km and 43,307 km, respectively. Given the past track record, completing 83,000 km by FY2022 looks extremely ambitious."

While there are various factors for the slowdown in the pace of construction, the biggest hurdle continues to be land acquisition.

Despite ensuring Right of Way of about 80% at the bidding out of the projects, the biggest challenge remains to be land acquisition during the implementation stage. "In India, this issue will certainly continue to remain and cannot be ignored for any highway project," said another analyst.

Fragmented land holdings, lack of clear land titles, the dependence on local authorities, inadequate land acquisition plan at the time of preparing detailed project reports and lack of methodology for compensation are the major difficulties faced during land acquisition that hampers about 80% of the delayed road projects.

Mr K Ravichandran, senior vice-president and group head, corporate ratings, Icra, said that "Currently, the average daily construction flow is around 23 km. This year there was a lull in activity due to Goods and Services Tax related issues. In the fourth quarter, the construction pace should pick up as there will not be any impact of the rains, and overall we should end the fiscal with an average of around 26-27 km/ daily."

Source :

Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 03 Jan 2018
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